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THE 



LIFE 



07 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH, 



WITH 



SELECTIONS FROM HIS WRITINGS. 



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CONTENTS 

OF 

THE SECOND VOLUME. 



THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD.— Continued. 

Pag« 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam. 
The Chinese Philosopher's Son made a Slave in Per- 
sia 7 

From the Same. 

The Venders of Quack Medicines and Nostrums rid- 
iculed 10 

From the Same. » > , > t > ■ • ,o a o«„ , * 

The Character of &e v Man m BTack,.wi'eh scrr.e Li- 
stances of his inconsistent Conduct ^ »' - , : ' % 12 

To the Same. • " " 

The History of the Man in Black- \ :.. ; i . .16 

From the Same. 

A Description of a CluL of Anthers. . -. »., '..,' . 23 

From the Same. 

The Proceedings of the Club of Authors . . . 26 

From the Same. 

The Manner of Writing among the Chinese. — The 
Eastern Tales of Magazines, &c, ridiculed . . 32 

From Hingpo, a slave in Persia, to Altangi, a Travelling 
Philosopher of China, by the way of Moscow. 
The Philosopher's Son describes a Lady, his fellow- 
captive 38 

From the Same. 

A Continuance of his Correspondence. — The Beautiful 
Captive consents to Marry her Lord . . .40 

From the Same. 

The Correspondence still continued. — He begins to be 
Disgusted in the Pursuit of Wisdom. — An Allegory 
to prove its Futility 43 

A 



11 CONTENTS. 

Page 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam. 
The Description of True Politeness. — Two Letters of 
different Countries by Ladies falsely thought Polite 
at Home .48 

To the Same. 

The Behaviour of the Congregation in St. Paul's 
Church at Prayers 53 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Ardour of the People of London in running after 
Sights and Monsters 56 

To the Same. • 

A Dream 60 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam. 
The Absurdity of Persons in High Stations pursuing 
Employments beneath them, exemplified in a Fairy 
Tale 65 

From the Same. 

The Fairy Tale continued 69 

From, Men Chi, Altangi, to Furri IBo>m, first President of 
th£ £eYe^ r pnfal 'Academy at Pek}r,,'in China. 
A BookseUer's Visit' to the' Chinese . . . .73 
. •• « « 
To the same. • \ J' « 

The Impossibility , 
thmr.Dr^ss ... . 



' i ' ' ' 

of distinguishing Men in England by 






From the' Saipe. ,', •, 

The Character of an Important Trifler ... 81 

To the Same. 

His Character continued, with that of his Wife, his 
House, and Furniture . . . . .84 

From the Same. 

The Difficulty of Rising in Literary Reputation with- 
out Intrigue or Riches 88 

To the Same. 

A Visitation Dinner described . . . . 91 

From Hingpo, to Lien Chi Altangi, by the way of Moscow. 
The Chinese Philosopher's Son escapes with the Beau- 
tiful Captive from Slavery 95 

From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo. 

Proper Lessons to a Youth entering the World, with 
Fables suited to the Occasion 98 



CONTENTS. Ill 

-Page 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Great exchange Happiness for Show. — Their 
Folly in this respect of use to Society . . .102 

From the Same. 

The History of a Philosophic Cobbler . . .105 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Hingpo, by the way of Moscow. 
The Folly of Attempting to learn Wisdom by being 
Recluse 108 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
Quacks Ridiculed. — Some particularly mentioned .111 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 

The Fear of Mad Dogs ridiculed 115 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Hingpo, by the way of Moscow. 
Fortune proved not to be Blind.— The Story of the 
Avaricious Miller . . . ' . . . 120 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Shabby Beau, the Man in Black, the Chinese Phi- 
losopher,' &c, at Vauxhall 123 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Hingpo, by the way of Moscow. 
Life endeared by Age 128 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Description of a Little Great Man . . .132 

To the Same. 

The Necessity of Amusing each other with New Books 
insisted upon 135 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Behaviour of a Shopkeeper and his Journeyman . 139 

From the Same. 

The Preparations of both the Theatres for a Winter 
Campaign 141 

From the Same. 

The Sciences useful in a Populous State, prejudicial 
in a Barbarous one 144 



IV CONTENTS. 

Page 
From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 

the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
Anecdotes of several Poets who lived and died in cir- 
cumstances of great Wretchedness .... 149 

From the Same. 

The trifling Squabbles of Stage-players ridiculed . 153 

From the Same. 

The Races of Newmarket ridiculed. — The Description 
of a Cartrace 157 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Ladies Advised to get Husbands. — A Story to the 
purpose 161 

From the Same. 

The Folly of remote or useless Distinctions among the 
Learned . . • . . • 165 

From the Same. 

The English subject to the Spleen .... 169 

From the Same. 

The Influence of Climate and Soil upon the Temper 
and Disposition of the English 173 

To the Same. 

The Manner in which some Philosophers make Arti- 
ficial Misery 176 

To the Same. 

The Fondness of some to admire the Writings of Lords, 
&c 179 

From Hingpo in Moscow, to Lien Chi Altangi in London. 
The Philosopher's Son is again separated from his 
beautiful Companion 181 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Condolence and Congratulation upon the Death 
of the late King ridiculed. — English Mourning de- 
scribed 184 

From the Same. 

A Description of the Courts of Justice in Westminster 
Hall 187 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Hingpo, by the way of Moscow. 
A Life of Independence Praised 191 



CONTENTS. V 

Pago 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The People must be contented to be Guided by those 
whom they have appointed to Govern. — A Story to 
this Effect 194 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam. 
The Chinese Philosopher begins to think of quitting 
England 197 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
The Arts some make use of to appear Learned . . 199 

From the Same. 

The intended Coronation described .... 202 

To the Same. 

An Election described 206 

To the Same. 

A City Night-piece 209 

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first President of 
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. 
On the Distresses of the Poor, exemplified in the life 
of a Private Sentinel 212 

From the Same. 

On the Absurdity of some late English Titles . . 217 

To the Same. 

The Manner of Travellers in their usual Relations 
ridiculed 220 

To the Same. 

The Conclusion 224 

MISCELLANEOUS. 

The History of Hypasia 231 

On Justice and Generosity 235 

The Story of Alcander and Septimius .... 239 

On Friendship . . 243 

Asem, the Man-hater 246 

Sabinus and Olinda 254 

On the different Schools of Music 258 

Shenstone and his Gardens 264 

Political Frugality 268 

Upon Unfortunate Merit 278 

Deceit and Falsehood 281 

Scheme for raising an Army of Amazons proposed . . 287 

On National Prejudice 291 

On Taste 295 

On the Improvement of Taste 303 

A2 



THE 

CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. 

CONTINUED. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO ****, MERCHANT AT AM- 
STERDAM. 

The Chinese Philosopher's Son made a Slare in Persia. 

The letter which came by the way of Smyrna, 
and which you sent me unopened, was from my son. 
As I have permitted you to take copies of all those 
I send to China, you might have made no ceremony 
in opening those directed to me. Either in joy or 
sorrow, my friend should participate in my feelings. 
" It would give pleasure to see a good man pleased 
at my success ; it would give almost equal pleasure 
to see him sympathize at my disappointment." 

Every account I receive from the East seems to 
come loaded with some new affliction. My wife 
and daughter were taken from me, and yet I sustain- 
ed the loss with intrepidity ; my son is made a slave 
among the barbarians, which was the only blow that 
could have reached my heart ; yes, I will indulge 
the transports of nature for a little, in order to show 
I can overcome them in the end. "True magna- 
nimity consists not in never falling, but in rising 
every time we fall." 

When our mighty emperor had published his dis- 
pleasure at my departure, and seized upon all that 
was mine, my son was privately secreted from his 
resentment. Under the protection and guardianship 
of Fum Hoam, the best and wisest of all the inhab- 



8 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

itants of China, he was for some time instructed 
in the learning of the missionaries and the wisdom 
of the East ; but, hearing of my adventures, and in- 
cited by filial piety, he was resolved to follow my 
fortunes and share my distress. 

He passed the confines of China in disguise ; hired 
himself as a camel-driver to a caravan that was 
crossing the deserts of Thibet, and was within one 
day's journey of the river Laur, which divides that 
country from India, when a body of wandering Tar- 
tars, falling unexpectedly upon the caravan, plunder- 
ed it, and made those who escaped their first fury 
slaves. By those he was led into the extensive and 
desolate regions that border on the shores of the 
Aral Lake. 

Here he lived by hunting, and was obliged to sup- 
ply every day a certain proportion of the spoil to 
regale his savage masters ; his learning, his virtues, 
and even his beauty, were qualifications that no way 
served to recommend him ; they knew no merit but 
that of providing large quantities of milk and raw 
flesh ; and were sensible of no happiness but that of 
rioting on the undressed meal. 

Some merchants from Mesched, however, coming 
to trade with the Tartars for slaves, he was sold 
among the number, and led into the kingdom of Per- 
sia, where he is now detained. He is there obliged 
to watch the looks of a voluptuous and cruel mas- 
ter ; a man fond of pleasure, yet incapable of refine- 
ment, whom many years' service in war has taught 
pride, but not bravery. 

That treasure which I still keep within my bosom, 
my child, my all that was left to me, is now a slave.* 
Good heavens ! why was this 1 why have I been in- 
troduced into this mortal apartment, to be a specta- 
tor of my own misfortunes, and the misfortunes of 
my fellow-creatures ! wherever I turn, what a laby- 

* This whole apostrophe seems most literally translated from 
Ambulaaohamed, the Arabian poet. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 9 

rinth of doubt, error, and disappointment appears ! 
why was I brought into being? for what purposes 
made 1 from whence have I come 1 whither strayed? 
or to what regions am I hastening ? Reason cannot 
resolve. It lends a ray to show the horrors of my 
prison, but not a light to guide me to escape them. 
Ye boasted revelations of the earth, how little do 
you aid the inquiry ! 

How am I surprised at the inconsistency of the 
magi ; their two principles of good and evil affright 
me. The Indian, who bathes his visage in urine, 
and calls it piety, strikes me with astonishment. 
The Christian, who believes in three gods, is highly 
absurd. The Jews, who pretend the Deity is pleased 
with the effusion of blood, are not less displeasing. 
I am equally surprised that rational beings can come 
from the extremities of the earth in order to kiss a 
stone or scatter pebbles. How contrary to reason are 
those ! and yet all pretend to teach me to be happy. 

Surely all men are blind and ignorant of truth. 
Mankind wanders, unknowing his way, from morn- 
ing till the evening. Where shall we turn after hap- 
piness ; or is it wisest to desist from the pursuit ! 
Like reptiles in a corner of some stupendous palace, 
we peep from our holes, look about us, wonder at all 
we see, but are ignorant of the great Architect's de- 
sign. Oh for a revelation of himself, for a plan of 
his universal system ! Oh for the reasons of our cre- 
ation ; or why we were created to be thus unhappy ! 
If we are to experience no other felicity but what 
this life affords, then are we miserable indeed. If 
we are born only to look about us, repine, and die, 
then has Heaven been guilty of injustice. If this 
life terminates my existence, I despise the blessings 
of Providence and the wisdom of the giver. If this 
life be my all, let the following epitaph be written 
on the tomb of Altangi : " By my father's crimes I 
received this. By my own crimes I bequeath it to 
posterity." 



10 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Venders of Quack Medicines and Nostrums ridiculed. 

Whatever may be the merits of the English in 
other sciences, they seem peculiarly excellent in the 
art of healing. There is scarcely a disorder inci- 
dent to humanity against which they are not pos- 
sessed with a most infallible antidote. The pro- 
fessors of other arts confess the inevitable intricacy 
of things ; talk with doubt, and decide with hesita- 
tion ; but doubting is entirely unknown in medi- 
cine ; the advertising professors here delight in 
cases of difficulty ; be the disorder ever so desper- 
ate or radical, you will find numbers in every street 
who, by levelling a pill at the part affected, promise 
a certain cure without loss of time, knowledge of a 
bedfellow, or hinderance of business. 

When I consider the assiduity of this profession, 
their benevolence amazes me. They not only in 
general give their medicines for half value, but use 
the most persuasive remonstrances to induce the 
sick to come and be cured. Sure there must be 
something strangely obstinate in an English patient 
who refuses so much health upon such easy terms : 
does he take a pride in being bloated with a dropsy! 
does he find pleasure in the alternations of an inter- 
mittent fever ? or feel as much satisfaction in nur- 
sing up his gout as he found pleasure in acquiring it? 
He must, or otherwise he would never reject such 
repeated assurances of instant relief. What can be 
more convincing than the manner in which the sick 
are invited to be well 1 The doctor first begs the 
most earnest attention of the public to what he is 
going to propose ; he solemnly affirms that the pill 
was never found to want success ; he produces a list 
of those who have been rescued from the grave by 
taking it. Yet, notwithstanding all this, there are 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 11 

many here who now and then think proper to be 
sick : only sick, did I say ? There are some who 
think proper even to die ! Yes, by the head of 
Confucius, they die, though they might have pur- 
chased the health-restoring specific for half a crown 
at every corner. 

I am amazed, my dear Fum Hoam, that these 
doctors, who know what an obstinate set of people 
they have to deal with, have never thought of at- 
tempting to revive the dead. When the living are 
found to reject their prescriptions, they ought, in 
conscience, to apply to the dead, from whom they 
can expect no such mortifying repulses ; they would 
find in the dead the most complying patients ima- 
ginable ; and what gratitude might they not expect 
from the patient's son, now no longer an heir, and 
his wife, now no longer a widow. 

Think not, my friend, that there is anything chi- 
merical in such an attempt ; they already perform 
cures equally strange : what can be more truly as- 
tonishing than to see old age restored to youth, and 
vigour to the most feeble constitutions ? yet this is 
performed here every day : a simple electuary ef- 
fects these wonders, even without the bungling cer- 
emonies of having the patient boiled up in a kettle, 
or ground down in a mill. 

Few physicians here go through the ordinary 
courses of education, but receive all their knowl- 
edge of medicine by immediate inspiration from 
Heaven. Some are thus inspired even in the 
womb ; and, what is very remarkable, understand 
their profession as well at three years old as at 
threescore. Others have spent a great part of their 
lives unconscious of any latent excellence, until a 
bankruptcy, or a residence in jail, has called their 
miraculous powers into exertion. And others still 
there are, indebted to their superlative ignorance 
alone for success. The more ignorant the practi- 
tioner, the less capable is he thought of deceiving. 



12 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

The people here judge as they do in the East, 
where it is thought absolutely requisite that a man 
should be an idiot before he pretend to be either a 
conjuror or a doctor. 

When a physician by inspiration is sent for, he 
never perplexes the patient by previous examina- 
tion ; he asks very few questions, and those only 
for form's sake. He knows every disorder by intu- 
ition. He administers the pill or drop for every 
distemper ; nor is he more inquisitive than the far- 
rier when he drenches a horse. If the patient lives, 
then has he one more to add to his surviving list ; if 
he dies, then it may be justly said of the patient's 
disorder, " That, as it was not cured, the disorder 
was incurable." 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Character of the Man in Black, with some Instances of his 
Inconsistent Conduct. 

Though fond of many acquaintances, I desire an 
intimacy only with a few. The man in black, 
whom I have often mentioned, is one whose friend- 
ship I could wish to acquire, because he possesses 
my esteem. His manners, it is true, are tinctured 
with some strange inconsistencies ; and he may be 
justly termed a humorist in a nation of humor- 
ists. Though he is generous even to profusion, he 
affects to be thought a prodigy of parsimony and 
prudence ; though his conversation be replete with 
the most sordid and selfish maxims, his heart is di- 
lated with the most unbounded love. I have known 
him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek 
was glowing with compassion ; and while his looks 
were softened into pity, I have heard him use the 
language of unbounded ill-nature. Some affect hu- 
manity and tenderness ; others boast of having such 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 13 

dispositions from nature ; but he is the only man I 
ever knew who seemed ashamed of his natural be- 
nevolence. He takes as much pains to hide his 
feelings as any hypocrite would to conceal his in- 
difference ; but on every unguarded moment the 
mask drops off, and reveals him to the most super- 
ficial observer. 

In one of our late excursions into the country, 
happening to discourse upon the provision that was 
made for the poor in England, he seemed amazed 
how any of his countrymen could be so foolishly 
weak as to relieve occasional objects of charity, 
when the laws had made such ample provision for 
their support. M In every parish-house," said he, 
" the poor are supplied with food, clothes, fire, and 
a bed to lie on ; they want no more, I desire no 
more myself; yet still they seem discontented. I 
am surprised at the inactivity of our magistrates in 
not taking up such vagrants, who are only a weight 
upon the industrious ; I am surprised that the peo- 
ple are so fond to relieve them, when they must be 
at the same time sensible that it in some measure 
encourages idleness, extravagance, and imposture. 
Were I to advise any man for whom I had the least 
regard, I would caution him by all means not to be 
imposed upon by their false pretences ; let me as- 
sure you, sir, they are impostors every one of them, 
and rather merit a prison than relief." 

He was proceeding in this strain, earnestly to dis- 
suade me from an imprudence of which I am sel- 
dom guilty ; when an old man, who still had about 
him the remnants of tattered finery, implored our 
compassion. He assured us that he was no com- 
mon beggar, but forced into the shameful profession 
to support a dying wife and five hungry children. 
Being prepossessed against such falsehoods, his 
story had not the least influence upon me ; but it was 
quite otherwise with the man in black ; I could see 
it visibly operate upon his countenance, and effect-. 

Vol. "II.— B 



14 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ually interrupt his harangue. I could easily per- 
ceive that his heart burned to relieve the five starv- 
ing children ; but he seemed ashamed to discover 
his weakness to me. While he thus hesitated be- 
tween compassion and pride, I pretended to look an- 
other way, and he seized this opportunity of giving 
the poor petitioner a piece of silver, bidding him, at 
the same time, in order that I should hear, go work 
for his bread, and not tease passengers with such 
impertinent falsehoods for the future. 

As he had fancied himself quite unperceived, he 
continued, as we proceeded, to rail against beggars 
with as much animosity as before ; he threw in 
some episodes on his own amazing prudence and 
economy, with his profound skill in discovering im- 
postors ; he explained the manner in which he would 
deal with beggars were he a magistrate ; hinted at 
enlarging some of the prisons for their reception ; 
and told two stories of ladies that were robbed by 
beggar-men. He was beginning a third to the same 
purpose, when a sailor with a wooden leg once more 
crossed our walks, desiring our pity and blessing our 
limbs. I was for going on without taking any no- 
tice ; but my friend, looking wishfully upon the poor 
petitioner, bid me stop, and he would show me with 
how much ease he could at any time detect an im- 
postor. 

He now, therefore, assumed a look of importance ; 
and, in an angry tone, began to examine the sailor, 
demanding in what engagement he was thus disa- 
bled and rendered unfit for service. The sailor re- 
plied, in a tone as angrily as he, that he had been 
an officer on board a private ship of war, and that he 
had lost his leg abroad in defence of those who did 
nothing at home. At this reply all my friend's im- 
portance vanished in a moment ; he had not a single 
question more to ask; he now only studied what 
method he should take to relieve him unobserved. 
He had, however, no easy part to act, as he was 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 15 

obliged to preserve the appearance of ill-nature be- 
fore me, and yet relieve himself by relieving the 
sailor. Casting, therefore, a furious look upon some 
bundles of chips which the fellow carried in a string 
at his back, my friend demanded how he sold his 
matches ; but, not waiting for a reply, desired, in a 
surly tone, to have a shilling's worth. The sailor 
seemed at first surprised at his demand ; but soon 
recollecting himself, and presenting his whole bun- 
dle, " Here, master," said he, " take all my cargo, 
and a blessing into the bargain. \ 

It is impossible to describe with what an air of 
triumph my friend marched off with his new pur- 
chase ; he assured me that he was firmly of opinion 
that those fellows must have stolen their goods who 
could thus afford to sell them for half value : he in- 
formed me of several different uses to which those 
chips might be applied ; he expatiated largely upon 
the savings that would result from lighting candles 
with a match instead of thrusting them into the fire. 
He averred that he would as soon have parted with 
a tooth as his money to these vagabonds, unless 
for some valuable consideration. I cannot tell how 
long this panegyric upon frugality and matches 
might have continued, had not his attention been 
called off by another object more distressful than 
either of the former. A woman in rags, with one 
child in her arms and another on her back, was at- 
tempting to sing ballads, but with such a mournful 
voice that it was difficult to determine whether she 
was singing or crying. A wretch, who in the deep- 
est distress still aimed at good-humour, was an ob- 
ject my friend was by no means capable of with- 
standing ; his vivacity and his discourse were in- 
stantly interrupted ; upon this occasion his very dis- 
simulation had forsaken him. Even in my presence 
he immediately applied his hands to his pockets in 
order to relieve her ; but guess his confusion when 
he found he had given away all the money he car- 



16 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ried about him to former objects. The misery paint- 
ed in the woman's visage was not half so strongly 
expressed as the agony in his. He continued to 
search for some time, but to no purpose; till, at 
length, recollecting himself, with a face of ineffable 
good-nature, as he had no money, he put into her 
hands his shilling's worth of matches. 



*TO THE SAME. 

The History of the Man in Black. 

As there appeared something reluctantly good in 
the character of my companion, I must own it sur- 
prised me, what could be his motives for thus con- 
cealing virtues which others take such pains to dis- 
play. I was unable to repress my desire of know- 
ing the history of a man who thus seemed to act 
under continual restraint, and whose benevolence 
was rather the effect of appetite than reason. 

It was not, however, till after repeated solicita- 
tions he thought proper to gratify my curiosity. 
" If you are fond," says he, " of hearing hair-breadth 
'scapes, my history must certainly please ; for I 
have been for twenty years upon the very verge of 
starving without ever being starved. 

" My father, the younger son of a good family, 
was possessed of a small living in the church. His 
education was above his fortune, and his generosity 
greater than his education. Poor as he was, he had 
his flatterers still poorer than himself; for every 
dinner he gave them, they returned him an equiva- 
lent in praise ; and this was all he wanted. The 
same ambition that actuates a monarch at the head 
of an army, influenced my father at the head of his 
table ; he told the story of the ivy-tree, and that was 
laughed at ; he repeated the jest of the two scholars 
and one pair of breeches, and the company laughed 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 17 

at that ; but the story of Taffy in the sedan-chair 
was sure to set the table in a roar. Thus his pleas- 
ure increased in proportion to the pleasure he gave; 
he loved all the world, and he fancied all the world 
loved him. 

" As his fortune was but small, he lived up to the 
extent of it ; he had no intentions of leaving his 
children money, for that was dross ; he was resolv- 
ed they should have learning ; for learning, he used 
to observe, was better than silver or gold. For this 
purpose he undertook to instruct us himself, and 
took as much pains to form our morals as to im- 
prove our understanding. We were told that uni- 
versal benevolence was what first cemented society ; 
we were taught to consider all the wants of man- 
kind as our own ; to regard the human face divine 
with affection and esteem ; he wound us up to be 
mere machines of pity, and rendered us incapable 
of withstanding the slightest impulse, made either 
by real or fictitious distress ; in a word, we were 
perfectly instructed in the art of giving away thou- 
sands, before we were taught the more necessary 
qualifications of getting a farthing. 

" I cannot avoid imagining that, thus refined by 
his lessons out of all my suspicion, and divested 
of even all the little cunning which nature had given 
me, I resembled, upon my first entrance into the 
busy and insidious world, one of those gladiators 
who were exposed without armour in the amphithe- 
atre at Rome. My father, however, who had only 
seen the world on one side, seemed to triumph in 
my superior discernment, though my whole stock 
of wisdom consisted in being able to talk like him- 
self upon subjects that once were useful, because 
they were then topics of the busy world ; but that 
now were utterly useless, because connected with 
the busy world no longer. 

" The first opportunity he had of finding his ex- 
pectations disappointed, was at the very middling 

B2 



18 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

figure I made in the University : he had flattered him- 
self that he should soon see me rising into the fore- 
most rank in literary reputation ; but was mortified 
to find me utterly unnoticed and unknown. His dis- 
appointment might have been partly ascribed to his 
having overrated my talents, and partly to my dis- 
like of mathematical reasonings, at a time when my 
imagination and memory, yet unsatisfied, were more 
eager after new objects than desirous of reasoning 
upon those I knew. This did not, however, please 
my tutors, who observed, indeed, that I was a little 
dull, but, at the same time, allowed that I seemed to 
be very good-natured, and had no harm in me. 

" After I had resided at college seven years, my 
father died, and he left me — his blessing. Thus 
shoved from shore without ill-nature to protect, or 
cunning to guide, or proper stores to subsist me in 
so dangerous a voyage, I was obliged to embark in 
the wide world at twenty-one. But, in order to set- 
tle in life, my friends advised (for they always ad- 
vise when they begin to despise us), they advised 
me, I say, to go into orders. 

" To be obliged to wear a long wig when I liked 
a short one, or a black coat when I generally dress- 
ed in brown, I thought was such a restraint upon 
my liberty that I absolutely rejected the proposal. 
A priest in England is not the same mortified crea- 
ture with a bonze in China ; with us, not he that 
fasts best, but he that eats best, is reckoned the best 
liver ; yet I rejected a life of luxury, indolence, and 
ease, from no consideration but that boyish one of 
dress. So that my friends were now perfectly sat- 
isfied I was undone, and yet they thought it a pity 
for one who had not the least harm in him, and was 
so very good-natured. 

" Poverty naturally begets dependance, and I was 
admitted as a flatterer to a great man. At first I 
was surprised that the situation of flatterer at a 
great man's table could be thought disagreeable ; 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 19 

there was no great trouble in listening attentively 
when his lordship spoke, and laughing when he look- 
ed around for applause. This even good manners 
might have obliged me to perform. I found, how- 
ever, too soon, that his lordship was a greater dunce 
than myself; and from that very moment my power 
of flattery was at an end. I now rather aimed at 
setting him right than at receiving his absurdities 
with submission : to flatter those we do not know is 
an easy task ; but to flatter our intimate acquaint- 
ances, all whose foibles are strongly in our eye, is 
drudgery insupportable. Every time I now opened 
my lips in praise, my falsehood went to my con- 
science ; his lordship soon perceived me very unfit 
for service ; I was therefore discharged ; my patron 
at the same time being graciously pleased to observe, 
that he believed I was tolerably good-natured, and 
had not the least harm in me. 

" Disappointed in ambition, I had recourse to love. 
A young lady who lived with her aunt, and was 
possessed of a very pretty fortune in her own dis- 
posal, had given me, as I fancied, some reasons to 
expect success. The symptoms by which I was 
guided were striking ; she always laughed with me 
at her awkward acquaintance, and at her aunt among 
the number; she always observed that a man of 
sense would make a better husband than a fool, and 
I as constantly applied the observation in my own 
favour. She continually talked in my company of 
friendship, and the beauties of the mind, and spoke 
of Mr. Shrimp's (my rival) high-heeled shoes with 
detestation. These were circumstances which I 
thought strongly in my favour ; so, after resolving, 
and re-resolving, I had courage enough to tell her 
my mind. Miss heard my proposal with serenity, 
seeming at the same time to study the figures of her 
fan. Out at last it came. There was but one small 
objection to complete our happiness, which was no 
more than — that she was married three months be- 



20 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

fore to Mr. Shrimp, with high-heeled shoes! By 
way of consolation, however, she observed, that 
though I was disappointed in her, my addresses to 
her aunt would probably kindle her into sensibility ; 
as the old lady always allowed me to be very good- 
natured, and not to have the least share of harm in 
me. 

" Yet still I had friends, numerous friends, and to 
them I was resolved to apply. Oh friendship ! thou 
fond soother of the human breast ! to thee we fly in 
every calamity ; to thee the wretched seek for suc- 
cour; on thee the care-tired son of misery fondly 
relies ; from thy kind assistance the unfortunate al- 
ways hopes for relief, and may be ever sure of dis- 
appointment ! My first application was to a city 
scrivener, who had frequently offered to lend me 
money when he knew I did not want it. I inform- 
ed him that now was the time to put his friendship 
to the test; that I wanted to borrow a couple of 
hundreds for a certain occasion, and was resolved to 
take it up from him. ' And pray, sir,' cried my 
friend, ' do you want all this money V ' Indeed, I 
never wanted it more,' returned I. ' I am sorry for 
that,' cries the scrivener, ' with all my heart ; for 
they who want money when they come to borrow, 
will always want money when they should come to 
pay.' 

" From him I flew with indignation to one of the 
best friends I had in the world, and made the same 
request. i Indeed, Mr. Drybone,' cries my friend, ' I 
always thought it would come to this. You know, 
sir, I would not advise you but for your own good ; 
but your conduct has hitherto been ridiculous in the 
highest degree, and some of your acquaintance al- 
ways thought you a very silly fellow. Let me see, 
you want two hundred pounds ; do you want only 
two hundred, sir, exactly]' 'To confess a truth,' 
returned I, ' I shall want three hundred ; but then I 
have another friend from whom I can borrow the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 21 

rest.' ' Why, then,' replied my fnend, ' if you would 
take my advice, and you know I should not presume 
to advise you but for your own good, I would rec- 
ommend it to you to borrow the whole sum from 
that other friend, and then one note will serve for 
all, you know.' 

" Poverty now began to come fast upon me ; yet, 
instead of growing more provident or cautious as I 
grew poor, I became every day more indolent and 
simple. A friend was arrested for fifty pounds ; I 
was unable to extricate him, except by becoming his 
bail. When at liberty, he fled from his creditors, 
and left me to take his place. In prison I expected 
greater satisfactions than I had enjoyed at large. I 
hoped to converse with men in this new world sim- 
ple and believing like myself; but I found them as 
cunning and cautious as those in the world I had 
left behind. They spunged up my money while it 
lasted, borrowed my coals and never paid them, and 
cheated me when I played at cribbage. All this was 
done because they believed me to be very good-na- 
tured, and knew that I had no harm in me. 

" Upon my first entrance into this mansion, which 
is to some the abode of despair, I felt no sensations 
different from those I experienced abroad. I was 
now on one side of the door, and those who were 
unconfined were on the other ; this was all the dif- 
ference between us. At first, indeed, I felt some 
uneasiness in considering how I should be able to 
provide this week for the wants of the week ensu- 
ing ; but, after some time, if I found myself sure of 
eating one day, I never troubled my head how I was 
to be supplied another. I seized every precarious 
meal with the utmost good-humour; indulged no 
rants of spleen at my situation ; never called down 
Heaven and all the stars to behold me dining upon a 
halfpenny-worth of radishes ; my very companions 
were taught to believe that I liked salad better than 
mutton. I contented myself with thinking that all 



22 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

my life I should either eat white bread or brown ; 
considered that all that happened was best ; laughed 
when I was not in pain ; took the world as it went ; 
and read Tacitus often for want of more books and 
company. 

" How long I might have continued in this torpid 
state of simplicity I cannot tell, had I not been rous- 
ed by seeing an old acquaintance, whom I knew to 
be a prudent blockhead, preferred to a place in the 
government. I now found that I had pursued a 
wrong track, and that the true way of being able to 
relieve others was first to aim at independence my- 
self. My immediate care, therefore, was to leave 
my present habitation, and make an entire reforma- 
tion in my conduct and behaviour. For a free, open, 
undesigning deportment, I put on that of closeness, 
prudence, and economy. One of the most heroic 
actions I ever performed, and for which I shall 
praise myself as long as I live, was the refusing 
half a crown to an old acquaintance at the time 
when he wanted it and I had it to spare ; for this 
alone I deserved to be decreed an ovation. 

" I now, therefore, pursued a course of uninter- 
rupted frugality ; seldom wanted a dinner ; and was 
consequently invited to twenty. I soon began to 
get the character of a saving hunks that had money, 
and insensibly grew into esteem. Neighbours have 
asked my advice in the disposal of their daughters, 
and I have always taken care not to give any. I 
have contracted a friendship with an alderman only 
by observing that if we take a farthing from a thou- 
sand pounds it will be a thousand pounds no longer. 
I have been invited to a pawnbroker's table by pre- 
tending to hate gravy ; and am now actually upon 
treaty of marriage with a rich widow for only hav- 
ing observed that bread was rising. If ever I am 
asked a question, whether I know it or not, instead 
of answering, I only smile and look wise. If a char- 
ity is proposed, I go about with the hat, but put no- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 23 

thing in myself. If a wretch solicits my pity, I ob- 
serve that the world is filled with impostors, and 
take a certain method of not being deceived by never 
relieving. In short, I now find the truest way of 
finding esteem, even from the indigent, is to give 
away nothing, and thus have much in our power to 
give." 



FROM THE SAME. 

A Description of a Club of Authors. 

Were we to estimate the learning of the English 
by the number of books that are every day publish- 
ed among them, perhaps no country, not even China 
itself, could equal them in this particular. I have 
reckoned not less than twenty-three new books pub- 
lished in one day ; which, upon computation, makes 
eight thousand three hundred and ninety-five in one 
year. Most of these are not confined to one single 
science, but embrace the whole circle. History, 
politics, poetry, mathematics, metaphysics, and the 
philosophy of nature, are all comprised in a manual 
not larger than that in which our children are taught 
their letters. If, then, we suppose the learned of 
England to read but an eighth part of the works 
which daily come from the press (and sure none can 
pretend to learning upon less easy terms), at this 
rate every scholar will read a thousand books in 
one year. From such a calculation, you may con- 
jecture what an amazing fund of literature a man 
must be possessed of who thus reads three new 
books every day, not one of which but contains all 
the good things that ever were said or written. 

And yet, I know not how it happens, but the Eng- 
lish are not, in reality, so learned as would seem 
from this calculation. We meet but few who know 
all arts and sciences in perfection ; whether it is that 



24 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

the generality are incapable of such extensive knowl- 
edge, or that the authors of those books are not ad- 
equate instructers. In China, the emperor himself 
takes cognizance of all the doctors in the kingdom 
who profess authorship. In England, every man 
may be an author that can write ; for they have by 
law a liberty, not only of saying what they please, 
but of being also as dull as they please. 

Yesterday I testified my surprise to the man in 
black, where writers could be found in sufficient 
number to throw off the books I daily saw crowd- 
ing from the press. I at first imagined that their 
learned seminaries might take this method of in- 
structing the world ; but, to obviate this objection, 
my companion assured me that the doctors of col- 
leges never wrote, and that some of them had actu- 
ally forgot their reading ; " but if you desire," con- 
tinued he, " to see a collection of authors, I fancy I 
can introduce you this evening to a club, which as- 
sembles every Saturday at seven, at the sign of the 
Broom, near Islington, to talk over the business of 
the last, and the entertainment of the week ensu- 
ing." I accepted his invitation ; we walked to- 
gether, and entered the house some time before the 
usual hour for the company assembling. 

My friend took this opportunity of letting me into 
the characters of the principal members of the club, 
not even the host excepted, who, it seems, was once 
an author himself, but was preferred by a bookseller 
to this situation as a reward for his former services. 

" The first person," said he, " of our society, is 
Dr. Nonentity, a metaphysician. Most people think 
him a profound scholar ; but, as he seldom speaks, I 
cannot be positive in that particular ; he generally 
spreads himself before the fire, sucks his pipe, talks 
little, drinks much, and is reckoned very good com- 
pany. I am told he writes indexes to perfection ; 
he makes essays on the origin of evil, philosophical 
inquiries upon any subject, and draws up an answer 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 25 

to any book upon twenty-four hours warning. You 
may distinguish him from the rest of the company 
by his long gray wig and the blue handkerchief round 
his neek. 

" The next to him in merit and esteem is Tim 
Syllabub, a droll creature : he sometimes shines as 
a star of the first magnitude among the choice spir- 
its of the age : he is reckoned equally excellent at 
a rebus, a riddle, a bawdy song, and a hymn for the 
tabernacle. You will know him by his shabby 
finery, his powdered wig, dirty shirt, and broken silk 
stockings. 

" After him succeeds Mr. Tibs, a very useful hand : 
he writes receipts for the bite of a mad dog, and 
throws off an Eastern tale to perfection ; he under- 
stands the business of an author as well as any man, 
for no bookseller alive can cheat him. You may 
distinguish him by the peculiar clumsiness of his 
figure and the coarseness of his coat ; however, 
though it be coarse (as he frequently tells the com- 
pany), he has paid for it. 

" Lawyer Squint is the politician of the society : 
he makes speeches for Parliament, writes addresses 
to his fellow-subjects, and letters to noble command- 
ers ; he gives the history of every new play, and 
finds seasonable thoughts upon every occasion." 

My companion was proceeding in his description, 
when the host came running in, with terror on his 
countenance, to tell us that the door was beset with 
bailiffs. " If that be the case, then," says my com- 
panion, " we had as good be going, for I am posi- 
tive we shall not see one of the company this night." 
Wherefore, disappointed, we were both obliged to 
return home ; he to enjoy the oddities which com- 
pose his character alone, and I to write, as usual, tc 
my friend the occurrences of the day. Adieu. 

Vol. II.— C 



26 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Proceedings of the Club of Authors. 

By my last advices from Moscow I find the cara- 
van has not yet departed for China. I still continue 
to write, expecting that you may receive a large 
number of my letters at once. In them you will 
find rather a minute detail of English peculiarities 
than a general picture of their manners or disposi- 
tion. Happy it were for mankind if all travellers 
would thus, instead of characterizing a people in 
general terms, lead us into a detail of those minute 
circumstances which first influenced their opinion ; 
the genius of a country should be investigated with 
a kind of experimental inquiry ; by this means we 
should have more precise and just notions of for- 
eign nations, and detect travellers themselves when 
they happened to form wrong conclusions. 

My friend and I repeated our visit to the club of 
authors, where, upon our entrance, we found the 
members all assembled, and engaged in a loud de- 
bate. 

The poet, in shabby finery, holding a manuscript 
in his hand, was earnestly endeavouring to persuade 
the company to hear him read the first book of an 
heroic poem, which he had composed the day be- 
fore. But against this all the members very warmly 
objected. They knew no reason why any member 
of the club should be indulged with a particular 
hearing, when many of them had published whole 
volumes which had never been looked into. They 
insisted that the law should be observed, where 
reading in company was expressly noticed. It was 
in vain that the plaintiff pleaded the peculiar merit 
of his piece ; he spoke to an assembly insensible to 
all remonstrances : the book of laws was opened 
and read by the secretary, where it was expressly 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 27 

enacted, " That whatsoever poet, speech-maker, 
critic, or historian should presume to engage the 
company by reading his own works, he was to lay 
down sixpence previous to opening the manuscript, 
and should be charged one shilling an hour while he 
continued reading; the said shilling to be equally 
distributed among the company, as a recompense for 
their trouble." 

Our poet seemed at first to shrink at the penalty, 
hesitating for some time whether he should depos- 
ite the fine or shut up the poem ; but, looking round, 
and perceiving two strangers in the room, his love 
of fame outweighed his prudence, and, laying down 
the sum by law established, he insisted on his pre- 
rogative. 

A profound silence ensuing, he began by explain- 
ing his design : " Gentlemen," says he, " the pres- 
ent piece is not one of your common epic poems, 
which come from the press like paper kites in sum- 
mer ; there are none of your Turnuses or Didos in 
it ; it is an heroical description of nature. I only 
beg you'll endeavour to make your souls in unison 
with mine, and hear with the same enthusiasm with 
which I have written. The poem begins with the 
description of an author's bedchamber ; the picture 
was sketched in my own apartment ; for you must 
know, gentlemen, that I am myself the hero." 
Then, putting himself in the attitude of an orator, 
with all the emphasis of voice and action, he pro- 
ceeded : 

" Where the Red Lion, flaring o'er the way, 
Invites each passing stranger that can pay ; 
Where Calvert's butt, and Parson's black. Champagne, 
Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury Lane; 
There, in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug, 
The muse found Scroggen stretch'd beneath a rug; 
A window, patched with paper, lent a ray, 
That dimly show'd the state in which he lay ; 
The sanded floor, that grits beneath the tread, 
The humid wall, with paltry pictures spread ; 



28 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

The royal game of goose was there in view ; 

And the twelve rules the royal martyr drew ; 

The seasons, framed with listing, found a place, 

And brave Prince William show'd his lamp-black face : 

The morn was cold ; he views with keen desire 

The rusty grate, unconscious of a fire : 

With beer and milk arrears the frieze was scored, 

And five crack'd teacups dress'd the chimney-board ; 

A nightcap deck'd his brows instead of bay, 

A cap by night — a stocking all the day !" 

With this last line he seemed so much elated that 
he was unable to proceed. " There, gentlemen," 
cries he, " there is a description for you ! Rabealis's 
bedchamber is but a fool to it : 

'A cap by night — a stocking all the day /' 

There is sound, and sense, and truth, and nature, in 
the trifling compass of ten little syllables." 

He was too much employed in self-admiration to 
observe the company, who, by nods, winks, shrugs, 
and stifled laughter, testified every mark of con- 
tempt. He turned severally to each for their opin- 
ion, and found all, however, ready to applaud. One 
swore it was inimitable ; another said it was very 
fine ; and a third cried out in a rapture, Carissimo I 
At last, addressing himself to the president, "And 
pray, Mr. Squint," says he, " let us have your opin- 
ion." " Mine," answered the president, taking the 
manuscript out of the author's hands, " may this 
glass suffocate me, but I think it equal to anything 
I have seen ; and I fancy," continued he, doubling 
up the poem and forcing it into the author's pocket, 
" that you will get great honour when it comes out ; 
so I shall beg leave to put it in. We will not in- 
trude upon your good-nature in desiring to hear 
more of it at present ; ex ungue Herculem, we are 
satisfied, perfectly satisfied." The author made two 
or three attempts to pull it out a second time, and 
the president made as many to prevent him. Thus, 
though with reluctance, he was obliged to sit down, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 29 

contented with the commendations for which he had 

paid. 

When this tempest of poetry and praise was blown 
over, one of the company changed the subject by 
wondering how any could be so dull as to write po- 
etry at present, since prose itself would hardly pay. 
" Would you believe it, gentlemen," continued he, " I 
have actually written last week sixteen prayers, 
twelve bawdy jests, and three sermons, all at the 
rate of sixpence a piece ; and, what is still more ex- 
traordinary, the bookseller has lost by the bargain. 
Such sermons would once have gained me a pre- 
bend's stall : but now, alas ! we have neither piety, 
taste, nor humour among us. Positively, if this sea- 
son does not turn out better than it has begun, unless 
the ministry commit some blunders to furnish us 
with a new topic of abuse, I shall resume my old 
business of working at the press instead of finding 
it employment." 

The whole club seemed to join in condemning the 
season as one of the worst that had come for some 
time ; a gentleman particularly observed that the 
nobility were never known to subscribe worse than 
at present. " I know not how it happens," said he, 
" though I follow them up as close as possible, yet 
I can hardly get a single subscription in a week. 
The houses of the great are as inaccessible as a 
frontier garrison at midnight. I never see a noble- 
man's door half opened, that some surly porter or 
footman does not stand full in the breach. I was 
yesterday to wait with a* subscription proposal upon 
my Lord Squash, the Creolian. I had posted myself 
at his door the whole morning, and, just as he was 
getting into his coach, thrust my proposal snug into 
his hand, folded up in the form of a letter from my- 
self. He just glanced at the superscription, and, not 
knowing the hand, consigned it to his valet-de-cham- 
bre ; this respectable personage treated it as his 
master, and put it into the hands of the porter. 

C2 



30 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

The porter grasped my proposal, frowning ; and, 
measuring my figure from top to toe, put it back 
into my own hands unopened." 

" To the devil I pitch all the nobility," cries a 
little man, in a peculiar accent ; " I am sure they 
have of late used me most scurvily. You must 
know, gentlemen, some time ago, upon the arrival 
of a certain noble duke from his travels, I sat myself 
down, and vamped up a fine, flaunted, poetical pane- 
gyric, which I had written in such a strain that I 
fancied it would have even wheedled milk from a 
mouse. In this I presented the whole kingdom wel- 
coming his grace to his native soil, not forgetting 
the loss France and Italy would sustain in their arts 
by his departure. I expected to touch for a bank 
bill, at least ; so, folding up my verses in gilt paper, 
1 gave my last half crown to a genteel servant to be 
the bearer. My letter was safely conveyed to his 
grace ; and the servant, after four hours' absence, 
during which time I led the life of a fiend, returned 
with a letter four times as big as mine. Guess my 
ecstasy at the prospect of so fine a return. I eager- 
ly took the packet into my hands, which trembled to 
receive it. I kept it some time unopened before me, 
brooding over the expected treasure it contained ; 
when, opening it, as I hope to be saved, gentlemen, 
his grace had sent me, in payment for my poem, no 
bank bills, but six copies of verse, each longer than 
mine, addressed to him upon the same occasion." 

" A nobleman," cries a member who had hitherto 
been silent, " is created as much for the confusion 
of us authors as the catchpole. I'll tell you a sto- 
ry, gentlemen, which is as true as this pipe is made 
of clay. When I was delivered of my first book, I 
owed my tailor for a suit of clothes ; but that is no- 
thing new, you know, and may be any man's case 
as well as mine. Well, owing him for a suit of 
clothes, and hearing that my book took very well, 
he sent for his money, and insisted upon being paid 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 31 

immediately. Though I was at that time rich in 
fame, for my book run like wildfire, yet I was very 
short in money, and, being unable to satisfy his de- 
mand, prudently resolved to keep my chamber, pre- 
ferring a prison of my own choosing at home to 
one of my tailor's abroad. In vain the bailiffs used 
all their arts to decoy me from my citadel ; in vain 
they sent to let me know that a gentleman wanted 
to speak with me at the next tavern ; in vain they 
came with an urgent message from my aunt in the 
country ; in vain I was told that a particular friend 
was at the point of death, and desired to take his 
last farewell ; I was deaf, insensible, rock, adamant. 
The bailiffs could make no impression on my hard 
heart, for I effectually kept my liberty by never stir- 
ring out of the room. 

" This was very well for a fortnight ; when, one 
morning, I received a most splendid message from 
the Earl of Doomsday, importing that he had read 
my book, and was in raptures with every line of it : 
he impatiently longed to see the author, and had 
some designs which might turn out greatly to my 
advantage. I paused upon the contents of the mes- 
sage, and found there could be no deceit, for the card 
was gilt at the edges, and the bearer, I was told, had 
quite the looks of a gentleman. Witness, ye pow- 
ers, how my heart triumphed at my own importance ! 
I saw a long perspective felicity before me ; I ap- 
plauded the taste of the times, which never saw ge- 
nius forsaken. I had prepared a set introductory 
speech for the occasion; five glaring compliments 
for his lordship, and two more modest for myself. 
The next morning, therefore, in order to be punctual 
to my appointment, I took coach, and ordered the 
fellow to drive to the street and house mentioned 
in his lordship's address. I had the precaution to 
pull up the windows as I went along, to keep off 
the busy part of mankind ; and, big with expecta- 
tion, fancied the coach never went fast enough. At 



32 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

length, however, the wished-for moment of its stop- 
ping arrived : this for some time I impatiently ex- 
pected ; and, letting down the door in a transport, 
in order to take a previous view of his lordship's 
magnificent palace and situation, I found — poison to 
my sight ! — I found myself, not in an elegant street, 
but a paltry lane ; not a nobleman's door, but at the 
door of a sponging-house. I found the coachman 
had all this while been just driving me on to jail, 
and I saw the bailiff, with a devil's face, coming out 
to secure me." 

To a philosopher, no circumstance, however tri- 
fling, is too minute ; he finds instruction and enter- 
tainment in occurrences which are passed over by 
the rest of mankind as low, trite, and indifferent ; it 
is from the number of these particulars, which to 
many appear insignificant, that he is at last enabled 
to form general conclusions ; this, therefore, must be 
my excuse for sending so far as China accounts of 
manners and follies, which, though minute in their 
own nature, serve more truly to characterize this 
people than histories of their public treaties, courts, 
ministers, negotiations, and ambassadors. Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Manner of Writing among the Chinese. — The Eastern 
Tales of Magazines, &c, ridiculed. 

I am disgusted, oh Fum Hoam, even to sickness 
disgusted. Is it possible to bear the presumption of 
those islanders, when they pretend to instruct me in 
the ceremonies of China ! They lay it down as a 
maxim, that every person that comes from thence 
must express himself in metaphor ; swear by Alia, 
rail against wine, and behave, and talk, and write 
like a Turk or Persian. They make no distinction 
between our elegant manners and the voluptuous 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 33 

barbarities of our Eastern neighbours. Whenever I 
come, I raise either diffidence or astonishment: 
some fancy me no Chinese, because I am formed 
more like a man than a monster ; and others wonder 
to find one born five thousand miles from England 
with common sense. " Strange," say they, " that a 
man who has received his education at such a dis- 
tance from London should have common sense ! to 
be born out of England, and yet have common sense ! 
impossible ! He must be some Englishman in dis- 
guise ; his very visage has nothing of the true exotic 
barbarity." 

I yesterday received an invitation from a lady of 
distinction, who, it seems, had collected all her 
knowledge of Eastern manners from fictions every 
day propagated here, under the titles of Eastern Tales 
and Oriental Histories : she received me very po- 
litely, but seemed to wonder that I neglected bring- 
ing opium and a tobacco-box. When chairs were 
drawn for the rest of the company, I was assigned 
my place on a cushion on the floor. It was in vain 
that I protested the Chinese used chairs as in Eu- 
rope ; she understood decorum too well to entertain 
me with the ordinary civilities. 

I had scarce been seated according to her direc- 
tions, when the footman was ordered to pin a napkin 
under my chin. This I protested against as being 
no way Chinese ; however, the whole company, who, 
it seems, were a club of connoisseurs, gave it unan- 
imously against me, and the napkin was pinned ac- 
cordingly. 

It was impossible to be angry with people, who 
seemed to err only from an excess of politeness, and 
I sat contented, expecting their importunities were 
now at an end ; but, as soon as ever dinner was serv- 
ed, the lady demanded whether I was for a plate of 
bears' claws or a slice of birds' nests. As these 
were dishes with which I was utterly unacquainted, 
I was desirous of eating only what I knew, and 



34 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

therefore begged to be helped from a piece of beef 
that lay on the table ; my request at once discon- 
certed the whole company. A Chinese eat beef! 
that could never be ! there was no local propriety in 
Chinese beef, whatever there might be in Chinese 
pheasant. " Sir," said my entertainer, <' I think I 
have reasons to fancy myself a judge of these mat- 
ters ; in short, the Chinese never eat beef ; so that I 
must be permitted to recommend the pilaw — there 
was never better dressed at Pekin ; the saffron and 
rice are well boiled, and the spices in perfection." 

I had no sooner begun to eat what was laid before 
me, than I found the whole company as much aston- 
ished as before ; it seems I made no use of my chop- 
sticks. A grave gentleman, whom I take to be an 
author, harangued very learnedly, as the company 
seemed to think, upon the use which was made of 
them in China; he entered into a long argument 
with himself about their first introduction, without 
once appealing to me, who might be supposed best 
capable of silencing the inquiiy. As the gentleman, 
therefore, took my silence for a mark of his own 
superior sagacity, he was resolved to pursue the tri- 
umph ; he talked of our cities, mountains, and ani- 
mals as familiarly as if he had been born in Quamsi, 
but as erroneously as if a native of the moon ; he 
attempted to prove that I had nothing of the true 
Chinese cut in my visage ; showed that my cheek- 
bones should have been higher, and my forehead 
broader ; in short, he almost reasoned me out of my 
country, and effectually persuaded the rest of the 
company to be of his opinion. 

I was going to expose his mistakes, when it was 
insisted that I had nothing of the true Eastern man- 
ner in my delivery. " This gentleman's conversa- 
tion," says one of the ladies, who was a great read- 
er, "is like our own, mere chitchat and common 
sense ; there is nothing like sense in the true East- 
ern style, where nothing more is required but sub- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 35 

lirnity. Oh for a history of Aboulfaouris, the grand 
voyager of genii, magicians, rocks, bags of bullets 
giants, and enchanters, where all is great, obscure' 
magnificent, and unintelligible !" " I have written 
many a sheet of Eastern tales myself," interrupts 
the author, " and I defy the severest critic to say but 
that I have stuck close to the true manner. I have 
compared a lady's chin to the snow upon the mount- 
ains of Bomek ; a soldier's sword to the clouds that 
obscure the face of Heaven. If riches are mention- 
ed, I compare them to the flocks that graze the ver- 
dant Tafflis ; if poverty, to the mists that veil the 
brow of Mount Baku. I have used thee and thou 
upon all occasions j I have described fallen stars 
and splitting mountains, not forgetting the little 
Houris, who make a pretty figure in every descrip- 
tion. But you shall hear how I generally begin. 
; Eben-benbolo, who was the son of Ban, was born 
on the foggy summits of Benderabassi. His beard 
was whiter than the feathers which veil the breast 
of the penguin ; his eyes were like the eyes of doves 
when washed by the dews of the morning ; his hair, 
which hung like the willow weeping over the glassy 
stream, was so beautiful that it seemed to reflect its 
own brightness ; and his feet were as the feet of a 
wild deer, which fleeth to the tops of the mountains.' 
There, there is the true Eastern taste for you ; every 
advance made towards sense is only a deviation from 
sound. Eastern tales should always be sonorous, 
lofty, musical, and unmeaning." 

I could not avoid smiling to hear a native of Eng- 
land attempt to instruct me in the true Eastern idi- 
om ; and, after he had looked round some time for 
applause, I presumed to ask him whether he had 
ever travelled into the East, to which he replied in 
the negative : I demanded whether he understood 
Chinese or Arabic, to which he also answered as 
before. " Then how, sir," said I, " can you pretend 
to determine upon the Eastern style, who are entire- 



36 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ly unacquainted with the Eastern writings 1 Take, 
sir, the word of one who is professedly a Chinese, 
and who is actually acquainted with the Arabian 
writers, that what is palmed upon you daily for an 
imitation of Eastern writing nowise resembles their 
manner, either in sentiment or diction. In the East, 
similes are seldom used, and metaphors almost 
wholly unknown; but in China particularly, the 
very reverse of what you allude to takes place ; a 
cool, phlegmatic method of writing prevails there. 
The writers of that country, ever more assiduous to 
instruct than to please, address rather the judgment 
than the fancy. Unlike many authors of Europe, 
who have no consideration of the reader's time, they 
generally leave more to be understood than they ex- 
press. . , 

" Besides, sir, you must not expect from an inhab- 
itant of China the same ignorance, the same unlet- 
tered simplicity that you find in a Turk, Persian, or 
native of Peru. The Chinese are versed in the sci- 
ences as well as you, and are masters of several arts 
unknown to the people of Europe. Many of them 
are instructed not only in their own national learn- 
ing, but are perfectly well acquainted with the lan- 
guages and learning of the West. If my word in 
such a case is not to be taken, consult your own 
travellers on this head, who affirm that the scholars 
of Pekin and Siam sustain theological theses in Lat- 
in. ' The college of Masprend, which is but a league 
from Siam,' says one of your travellers,* ' came in a 
body to salute our ambassador. Nothing gave me 
more sincere pleasure than to behold a number of 
priests, venerable both from age and modesty, fol- 
lowed by a number of youths of all nations, Chinese, 
Japanese, Tonquinese, of Cochin China, Pegu, and 
Siam, all willing to pay their respects in the most 

* Journal ou suite du voyage de Siam, en forme de Lettres 
familiares, fait en 1685 and 1686, par M. L. D. C, p. 174, edit. 
Amstelod., 1686. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 37 

polite manner imaginable. A Cochin Chinese made 
an excellent Latin oration upon this occasion ; he 
was succeeded, and even outdone, by a student of 
Tonquin, who was as well skilled in the Western 
learning as any scholar of Paris.' Now, sir, if 
youths who never stirred from home are so per- 
fectly skilled in your laws and learning, surely more 
must be expected from one like me, who has trav- 
elled so many thousand miles ; who has conversed 
familiarly, for several years, with the English fac- 
tors established at Canton, and the missionaries sent 
us from every part of Europe. The unaffected of 
every country nearly resemble each other, and a 
page of our Confucius and your Tillotson have scarce 
any material difference. Paltry affectation, strained 
allusions, and disgusting finery, are easily attained 
by those who choose to wear them ; they are but 
too frequently the badges of ignorance or of stupidi- 
ty whenever it would endeavour to please." 

I was proceeding in my discourse, when, looking 
round, I perceived the company no way attentive to 
what I attempted, with so much earnestness, to en- 
force. One lady was whispering her that sat next; 
another was studying the merits of a fan ; a third 
began to yawn ; and the author himself fell fast 
asleep. I thought it, therefore, high time to make a 
retreat ; nor did the company seem to show any re- 
gret at my preparations for departure ; even the lady 
who had invited me, with the most mortifying insen- 
sibility, saw me seize my hat and rise from my cush- 
ion ; nor was I invited to repeat my visit, because it 
was found that I aimed at appearing rather a reason- 
able creature than an outlandish idiot. Adieu. 

Vol. II.— D 



38 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



FROM HINGPO, A SLAVE IN PERSIA, TO ALTANGI, A TRAV- 
ELLING PHILOSOPHER OF CHINA, BY THE WAY OF MOS- 
COW. 

The Philosopher's Son describes a Lad)', his fellow-captive. 

Fortune has made me the slave of another, but 
nature and inclination render me entirely subserv- 
ient to you ; a tyrant commands my body, but you 
are master of my heart. And yet, let not thy in- 
flexible nature condemn me when 1 confess that I 
find my soul shrink with my circumstances. I feel 
my mind, not less than my body, bend beneath the 
rigours of servitude ; the master whom I serve 
grows every day more formidable. In spite of rea- 
son, which should teach me to despise him, his hid- 
eous image fills even my dreams with horror. 

A few days ago, a Christian slave, who wrought 
in the gardens, happening to enter an arbour where 
the tyrant was entertaining the ladies of his harem 
with coffee, the unhappy captive was instantly stab- 
bed to the heart for his intrusion. I have been pre- 
ferred to his place ; which, though less laborious 
than my former station, is yet more ungrateful, as 
it brings me nearer him whose presence excites sen- 
sations at once of disgust and apprehension. 

Into what a state of misery are the modern Per- 
sians fallen ! A nation famous for setting the world 
an example of freedom, is now become a band of ty- 
rants and a den of slaves. The houseless Tartar of 
Kamtschatka, who enjoys his herbs and his fish in 
unmolested freedom, may be envied if compared to 
the thousands who pine here in hopeless servitude, 
and curse the day that gave them being. Is this 
just dealing, Heaven ! to render millions wretched 
to swell up the happiness of a few 1 Cannot the pow- 
erful of this earth be happy without our sighs and 
tears 1 Must every luxury of the great be wovea 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 39 

from the calamities of the poor 1 ? It must, it must 
surely be, that this jarring, discordant life is but the 
prelude to some future harmony ; the soul, attuned 
to virtue here, shall go from hence to fill up the uni- 
versal choir where Lien presides in person, where 
there shall be no tyrants to frown, no shackles to 
bind, nor whips to threaten ; where I shall once 
more meet my father with rapture, and give a loose 
to filial piety ; where I shall hang on his neck, and 
hear the wisdom of his lips, and thank him for all 
the happiness to which he has introduced me. 

The wretch whom fortune has made my master 
has lately purchased several slaves of both sexes : 
among the rest, I hear a Christian captive talked of 
with admiration. The eunuch who bought her, and 
who is accustomed to survey beauty with indiffer- 
ence, speaks of her with emotion. Her pride, how- 
ever, astonishes her attendant slaves not less than 
her beauty : it is reported that she refuses the warm- 
est solicitations of her haughty lord : he has even 
offered to make her one of his four wives upon 
changing her religion and conforming to his. It is 
probable she cannot refuse such extraordinary of- 
fers, and her delay is perhaps intended to enhance 
her favours. 

I have just now seen her : she inadvertently ap- 
proached the place without a veil where I sat wait- 
ing. She seemed to regard the heavens alone with 
fixed attention : there her most ardent gaze was di- 
rected. Genius of the sun ! what unexpected soft- 
ness ! what animated grace ! Her beauty seemed 
the transparent covering of virtue. Celestial beings 
could not wear a look of more perfection, while sor- 
row humanized her form, and mixed my admiration 
with pity. I rose from the bank on which I sat, 
and she retired ; happy that none observed us, for 
such an interview might have been fatal. 

I have regarded, till now, the opulence and power 
of my tyrant without envy : I saw him with a mind 



40 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

incapable of enjoying the gifts of fortune, and con- 
sequently regarded him as one loaded rather than 
enriched with its favours. But at present, when I 
think that so much beauty is reserved only for him, 
that so many charms shall be lavished on a wretch 
incapable of feeling the greatness of the blessing, I 
own I feel a reluctance to which I have hitherto 
been a stranger. 

But let not my father impute these uneasy sensa- 
tions to so trifling a cause as love. No, never let it 
be thought that your son, and the pupil of the wise 
Fum Hoam, could stoop to so degrading a passion. 
I am only displeased at seeing so much excellence 
so unjustly disposed of. 

The uneasiness which I feel is not for myself, but 
for the beautiful Christian. "When I reflect on the 
barbarity of him for whom she is designed, I pity, 
indeed I pity her. When I think that she must 
only share one heart who deserves to command a 
thousand, excuse me if I feel an emotion which uni- 
versal benevolence extorts from me. As I am con- 
vinced that you take a pleasure in those sallies of 
humanity, and are particularly pleased with compas- 
sion, I could not avoid discovering the sensibility 
with which I felt this beautiful stranger's distress. 
I have for a while forgot, in hers, the miseries of my 
own hopeless situation. The tyrant grows every 
day more severe ; and love, which softens all other 
minds into tenderness, seems only to have increased 
his severity. Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

A Continuance of his Correspondence.— The Beautiful Captive 
consents to Marry her Lord. 

The whole harem is filled with a tumultuous joy : 
Zelis, the beautiful captive, has consented to embrace 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 41 

the religion of Mohammed, and become one of the 
wives of the fastidious Persian. It is impossible 
to describe the transport that sits on every face on 
this occasion. Music and feasting fill every apart- 
ment : the most miserable slave seems to forget his 
chains, and sympathizes with the happiness of Mos- 
tadad. The herb we tread beneath our feet is not 
made more for our use, than every slave around him 
for their imperious master : mere mechanics of obe- 
dience, they wait with silent assiduity, feel his pains, 
and rejoice in his exultation. Heavens ! how much 
is requisite to make one man happy. 

Twelve of the most beautiful slaves, and I among 
the number, have got orders to prepare for carrying 
him in triumph to the bridal apartment. The blaze 
of perfumed torches are to imitate the day; the 
dancers and singers are hired at a vast expense. 
The nuptials are to be celebrated on the approach- 
ing feast of Barboura, when a hundred taels in gold 
are to be distributed among the barren wives, in or- 
der to pray for fertility from the approaching union. 
What will not riches procure 1 A hundred domes- 
tics, who curse the tyrant in their souls, are com- 
manded to wear a face of joy, and they are joyful. 
A hundred flatterers are ordered to attend, and they 
fill his ears with praise. Beauty, all-commanding 
beauty, sues for admittance, and scarcely receives an 
answer : even love itself seems to wait upon for- 
tune, or though the passion be only feigned, yet it 
wears every appearance of sincerity : and what 
greater pleasure can even true sincerity confer, or 
what would the rich have more ? 

Nothing can exceed the intended magnificence of 
the bridegroom but the costly dresses of the bride ; 
six eunuchs, in the most sumptuous habits, are or- 
dered to conduct him to the nuptial couch and wait 
his orders. Six ladies, in all the magnificence of 
Persia, are directed to undress the bride. Their 
business is to assist, to encourage her, to divest 

D2 



42 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

her of every encumbering part of her dress, all but 
the last covering, which, by an artful complication 
of ribands, is purposely made difficult to unloose, 
and with which she is to part reluctantly even to 
the joyful possessor of her beauty. 

Mostadad, oh my father, is no philosopher ; and 
yet he seems perfectly contented with ignorance. 
Possessed of numberless slaves, camels, and women, 
he desires no greater possession. He never opened 
the page of Mentius, and yet all the slaves tell me 
that he is happy. 

Forgive the weakness of my nature if I some- 
times feel my heart rebellious to the dictates of wis- 
dom, and eager for happiness like his. Yet why 
wish for his wealth with his ignorance ! to be, like 
him, incapable of sentimental pleasures, incapable of 
feeling the happiness of making others happy, inca? 
pable of teaching the beautiful Zelis philosophy ? 

What ! shall I, in a transport of passion, give up 
the golden mean, the universal harmony, the un- 
changing essence, for the possession of a hundred 
camels, as many slaves, thirty-five beautiful horses, 
and seventy-three fine women 1 first blast me to the 
centre ! Degrade me beneath the most degraded ! 
Pare my nails, ye powers of heaven ! ere I would 
stoop to such an exchange. What ! part with phi- 
losophy, which teaches me to suppress my passions 
instead of gratifying them ! which teaches me even 
to divest my soul of passion ! which teaches serenity 
in the midst of tortures ! philosophy, by which even 
now I am so very serene and so very much at ease, 
to be persuaded to part with it for any other enjoy- 
ment ! Never, never, even though persuasion spoke 
in accents of Zelis. 

A female slave informs me that the bride is to be 
arrayed in a tissue of silver, and her hair adorned 
with the largest pearls of Ormus : but why tease you 
with particulars, in which we both are so little con- 
cerned \ The pain I feel in separation throws a gloorq 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 43 

over my mind, which, in this scene of universal joy, 
I fear may be attributed to some other cause. How 
wretched are those who are, like me, denied even 
the last resource of misery, their tears ! Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Correspondence still continued.— He begins to be Disgust- 
ed in the Pursuit of Wisdom.— An Allegory to prove its Fu- 
tility. 

I begin to have doubts whether wisdom be alone 
sufficient to make us happy. Whether every step 
we make in refinement is not an inlet to new dis- 
quietudes. A mind too vigorous and active serves 
only to consume the body to which it is joined, as 
the richest jewels are soonest found to wear their 
settings. 

When we rise in knowledge, as the prospect wi- 
dens, the objects of our regard becomes more ob- 
scure, and the unlettered peasant, whose views are 
only directed to the narrow sphere around him, 
beholds nature with a finer relish, and tastes her 
blessings with a keener appetite than the philoso- 
pher, whose mind attempts to grasp a universal sys- 
tem. 

As I was some days ago pursuing this object 
among a circle of my fellow-slaves, an ancient Gue- 
bre of the number, equally remarkable for his piety 
and wisdom, seemed touched with my conversation, 
and desired to illustrate what I had been saying with 
an allegory, taken from the Zendavesta of Zoroas- 
ter : " By this we shall be taught," says he, " that 
they who travel in pursuit of wisdom walk only in 
a circle, and, after all their labour, at last return to 
their pristine ignorance : and in this also we shall 
see, that enthusiastic confidence or unsatisfying 
(doubts terminate all our inquiries. 



44 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

i 

" In early times, before myriads of nations cover- 
ed the earth, the whole human race lived together in 
one valley. The simple inhabitants, surrounded on 
every side by lofty mountains, knew no other world 
but the little spot on which they were confined. 
They fancied the heavens bent down to meet the 
mountain tops, and formed an impenetrable wall to 
surround them. None had ever yet ventured to 
climb the steepy cliff, in order to explore those re- 
gions that lay beyond it ; they knew the nature of 
the skies only from a tradition, which mentioned 
their being made of adamant ; traditions make up 
the reasonings of the simple, and serve to silence 
every inquiry. 

"In this sequestered vale, blessed with all the 
spontaneous productions of nature, the honeyed 
blossom, the refreshing breeze, the gliding brook, 
and golden fruitage, the simple inhabitants seemed 
happy in themselves, in each other ; they desired no 
greater pleasures, for they knew of none greater: 
ambition, pride, and envy were vices unknown 
among them ; and, from this peculiar simplicity of 
its possessors, the country was called the Valley of 
Ignorance. 

" At length, however, an unhappy youth, more as- 
piring than the rest, undertook to climb the mount- 
ain's side, and examine the summits, which were 
hitherto deemed inaccessible. The inhabitants from 
below gazed with wonder at his intrepidity : some 
applauded his courage, others censured his folly; 
still, however, he proceeded towards the place where 
the earth and heavens seemed to unite, and at length 
arrived at the wished-for height, with extreme la- 
bour and assiduity. 

" His first surprise was to find the skies, not, as 
he expected, within his reach, but still as far off as 
before : his amazement increased when he saw a 
wide-extended region lying on the opposite side of 
the mountain ; but it rose to astonishment when he 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 45 

beheld a country at a distance more beautiful and 
alluring than even that he had just left behind. 

" As he continued to gaze with wonder, a genius, 
with a look of infinite modesty, approaching, offered 
to be his guide and instructer. ' The distant country 
which you so much admire,' says the angelic being, 
' is called the Land of Certainty : in that charming 
retreat, sentiment contributes to refine every sensual 
banquet : the inhabitants are* blessed with every solid 
enjoyment, and still more blessed in a perfect con- 
sciousness of their own felicity : ignorance in that 
country is wholly unknown : all there is satisfaction 
without alloy, for every pleasure first undergoes the 
examination of Reason. As forme, I am called the 
Genius of Demonstration, and am stationed here in 
order to conduct every adventurer to that land of 
happiness through those intervening regions you see 
overhung with fogs and darkness, and horrid with 
forests, cataracts, caverns, and various other shapes 
of danger ; but follow me, and in time I may lead 
you to that distant desirable Land of Tranquillity.' 

" The intrepid traveller immediately put himself 
under the direction of the genius, and both journey- 
ing on together with a slow but agreeable pace, de- 
ceived the tediousness of the way by conversation. 
The beginning of the journey seemed to promise 
true satisfaction ; but, as they proceeded forward, 
the skies became more gloomy and the way more 
intricate ; they often inadvertently approached the 
brow of some frightful precipice, or the brink of a 
torrent, and were obliged to measure back their for- 
mer way. The gloom increasing as they proceeded, 
their pace became more slow ; they paused at every 
step, frequently stumbled, and their distrust and 
timidity increased. The Genius of Demonstration 
now, therefore, advised his pupil to grope upon his 
hands and feet, as a method, though more slow, yet 
less liable to error. 

" In this manner they attempted to pursue their 



46 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

journey for some time, when they were overtaken 
by another genius, who, with a precipitate pace, 
seemed travelling the same way. He was instantly 
known by the other to be the Genius of Probability. 
He wore two wide-extended wings at his back, which 
incessantly waved, without increasing the rapidity 
of his motion : his countenance betrayed a confi- 
dence that the ignorant might mistake for sincerity, 
and he had but one eye, which was fixed in the 
middle of his forehead. 

" ' Servant of Hormizda,' cried he, approaching 
the mortal pilgrim, ' if thou art travelling to the Land 
of Certainty, how is it possible to arrive there under 
the guidance of a genius who proceeds so slowly, 
and is so little acquainted with the way ? Follow 
me ; we shall soon perform the journey, where every 
pleasure awaits our arrival.' 

" The peremptory tone in which this genius spoke, 
and the speed with which he moved forward, induced 
the traveller to change his conductor : and, leaving 
his modest companion behind, he proceeded forward 
with his more confident director, seeming not a little 
pleased at the increased velocity of his motion. 

" But soon he found reasons to repent. Whenever 
a torrent crossed their way, his guide taught him 
to despise the obstacle by plunging him in ; when- 
ever a precipice presented, he was directed to fling 
himself forward. Thus each moment miraculously 
escaping, his repeated escapes only served to in- 
crease his temerity. He led him, therefore, forward, 
amid infinite difficulties, till they arrived at the bor- 
ders of an ocean, which appeared unnavigable from 
the black mists that lay upon its surface. Its un- 
quiet waves were of the darkest hue, and gave a 
lively representation of the various agitations of the 
human mind. 

" The Genius of Probability now confessed his te- 
merity, owned his being an improper guide to the 
Land of Certainty, a country where no mortal had 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 47 

ever been permitted to arrive ; but, at the same time 
offered to supply the traveller with another conduc- 
tor, who should carry him to the Land of Confi- 
dence : a region where the inhabitants lived with the 
utmost tranquillity, and tasted almost as much satis- 
faction as if in the Land of Certainty. Not waiting 
for a reply he stamped three times on the ground, 
and called forth the Demon of Error, a gloomy fiend 
of the servants of Arimanes. The yawnin<* earth 
gave up the reluctant savage, who seemed unable to 
bear the light of day. His stature was enormous, 
his colour black and hideous, his aspect betrayed 
a thousand varying passions, and he spread forth 
pinions that were fitted for the most rapid flight 
rhe traveller at first was shocked at the spectre ;' 
but, finding him obedient to superior powc he as- 
sumed his former tranquillity. 

" < I have called you to duty,' cries the genius to 
the demon^ to bear on your back a son of mortality 
over the Ocean of Doubts into the Land of Confi- 
dence. I expect you'll perform your commission 
with punctuality. And as for you,' continued the 
genius, addressing the traveller, ' when once I have 
bound this fillet round your eyes, let no voice of per- 
suasion, nor threats the most terrifying, persuade 
you to unbind it in order to look round; keep the 
fillet fast, look not at the ocean below, and you may 
certainly expect to arrive at a region of pleasure.' 

Thus saying, and the traveller's eyes being cov- 
ered, the demon, muttering curses, raised him on his 
back, and, instantly upborne by his strong pinions, 
directed his flight among the clouds. Neither the 
loudest thunaer nor the most angry tempest could 
persuade the traveller to unbind his eyes The de- 
mon directed his flight downward, and skimmed the 
surface of the ocean ; a thousand voices, some with 
loud invectives, others in sarcastic tones of con- 
tempt, vainly endeavoured to persuade him to look 
round ; but he still continued to keep his eyes cov- 



48 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ered, and would, in all probability, have arrived at 
the happy land, had not flattery effected what other 
means could not perform. For now he heard him- 
self welcomed on every side to the promised land, 
and a universal shout of joy was sent forth at his 
safe arrival : the wearied traveller, desirous of see- 
ing the long-wished-for country, at length pulled the 
fillet from his eyes, and ventured to look round him. 
But he had unloosed the band too soon : he was not 
yet above half way over. The demon, who was 
still hovering in the air, and had produced those 
sounds only in order to deceive, was now freed from 
his commission ; wherefore, throwing the astonish- 
ed traveller from his back, the unhappy youth fell 
headlong into the subjacent Ocean of Doubts, from 
whence he never after was seen to arise." 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI TO***, MERCHANT IN AM- 
STERDAM. 

The Description of True Politeness. — Two Letters of different 
Countries by Ladies falsely thought Polite at Home. 

Ceremonies are different in every country, but true 
politeness is everywhere the same. Ceremonies, 
which take up so much of our attention, are only 
artificial helps which ignorance assumes in order to 
imitate politeness, which is the result of good sense 
and good nature. A person possessed of those qual- 
ities, though he had never seen a court, is truly 
agreeable ; and if without them, would continue a 
clown, though he had been all his life a gentleman 
usher. 

How would a Chinese, bred up in the formality 
of an Eastern court, be regarded, should he carry all 
his good manners beyond the great wall? How 
would an Englishman, skilled in all the decorums 
6f Western good-breeding, appear at an Eastern en* 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 49 

tertainment? Would he not be reckoned more fan- 
tastically savage than even the unbred footman V 

Ceremony resembles that base coin which circu- 
lates through a country by the royal mandate : it 
serves every purpose of real money at home, but is 
entirely useless abroad : a person who should at- 
tempt to circulate his native trash in another coun- 
try would be thought ridiculous or culpable. He is 
truly well-bred who knows when to value and when 
to despise those national peculiarities which are re- 
garded by some with so much observance : a trav- 
eller of taste at once perceives that the wise are po- 
lite all the world over, but that fools are only polite 
at home. 

I have now before me two very fashionable let- 
ters upon the same subject, both written by ladies of 
distinction, one of whom leads the fashion in Eng- 
land, and the other sets the ceremonies of China. 
They are both regarded in their respective countries 
by all the beau monde as standards of taste and 
models of true politeness, and both give us a true 
idea of what they imagine elegant in their admirers : 
which of them understands true politeness, or wheth- 
er either, you shall be at liberty to determine. The 
English lady writes thus to her female confidant : 

" As I live, my dear Charlotte, I believe the colo- 
nel will carry it at last ; he is a most irresistible fel- 
low, that's flat. So well dressed, so neat, so spright- 
ly, and plays about one so agreeably, that I vow he 
has as much spirits as the Marquis of Monkeyman's 
Italian greyhound. I first saw him at Ranelagh : he 
shines there : he is nothing without Ranelagh, and 
Ranelagh nothing without him. The next day he 
sent a card and compliments, desiring to wait on 
mamma and me to the music subscription. He 
looked all the time with such irresistible impudence, 
that, positively, he had something in his face which 
gave as much pleasure as a pair royal of naturals in 
my own hand. He waited on mamma and me next 

Vol. II.— E 



50 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

morning to know how we got home : you must 
know the insidious devil makes love to us both. 
Rap went the footman "at the door, bounce went my 
heart : I thought he would have rattled the house 
down. -Chariot drove up to the window, with his 
footmen in the prettiest liveries : he has infinite 
taste, that's flat. Mamma had spent all the morning 
at her head ; but, for my part, I was in an undress to 
receive him : quite easy, mind that : no way disturb- 
ed at his approach : mamma pretended to be as de- 
gagee as I, and yet I saw her blush in spite of her. 
Positively he is a most killing devil ! We did no- 
thing but laugh all the time he stayed with us : I 
never heard so many very good things before. At 
first he mistook mamma for my sister, at which she 
laughed: then he mistook my natural complexion 
for paint, at which I laughed ; and then he showed 
us a picture on the lid of his snuff-box, at which we 
all laughed. He plays piquet so very ill, and is so 
very fond of cards, and loses with such a grace, that, 
positively, he has won me : I have got a cool hun- 
dred, but have lost my heart. I need not tell you 
that he is only a coJonel of the trainbands. I am, 
dear Charlotte, yours for ever, Belinda." 



>3 



The Chinese lady addresses her confidant, a poor 
relation of the family, upon the same occasion, in 
which she seems to understand decorums even bet- 
ter than the Western beauty. You, who have resided 
so long in China, will readily acknowledge the pic- 
ture to be taken from nature ; and, by being acquaint- 
ed with Chinese customs, will better apprehend the 
lady's meaning. 

FROM YAOUA TO YAYA. 

" Papa insists upon one, two, three, four hundred 
tales from the colonel, my lover, before he parts 
with a lock of my hair. Ho, how I wish the dear 
creatine may be able to produce the money, and pay 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 51 

i 

papa my fortune. The colonel is reckoned the po- 
litest man in all Shensi. The first visit he paid at 
our house — mercy, what stooping, and cringing, and 
stopping, and fidgeting, and going back, and creep- 
ing forWard there was between him and papa ; one 
would have thought he had got the seventeen books 
of ceremonies all by heart. When he was come 
into the hall, he flourished his hands three times in 
a very graceful manner. Papa, who would not be 
outdone, flourished his four times ; upon this the col- 
onel began again, and both thus continued flourish- 
ing for some minutes in the politest manner imagin- 
able. I was posted in the usual place behind the 
screen, where I saw the whole ceremony through a 
slit. Of this the colonel was sensible, for papa in- 
formed him. I would have given the world to have 
shown him my little shoes, but had no opportunity.' 
It was the first time I had ever the happiness of see- 
ing any man but papa ; and I vow, my dear Yaya, I 
thought my three souls would actually have fled 
from my lips. Ho, but he looked most charmingly ; 
he is reckoned the best-shaped man in the whole 
province, for he is very fat and very short ; but even 
those natural advantages are improved by his dress, 
which is fashionable past description. His head 
was close shaven, all but the crown, and the hair of 
that was braided into a most beautiful tail ; that, 
reaching down to his heels, was terminated by a 
bunch of yellow roses. Upon his first entering the 
room, I could easily perceive he had been highly 
perfumed with asafcetida. But then his looks, his 
looks, my dear Yaya, were irresistible ! He kept 
his eyes steadfastly fixed on the wall during the 
whole ceremony, and I sincerely believe no accident 
could have discomposed his gravity, or drawn his 
eyes away. After a polite silence of two hours, he 
gallantly begged to have the singing women intro- 
duced, purely for my amusement. After one of 
them had for some time entertained us with her 



52 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

voice, the colonel and she retired for some minutes 
together. I thought they would- never have come 
back ; I must own he is the most agreeable creature. 
Upon his return they again renewed the concert, 
and he continued to gaze upon the wall as usual ; 
when, in less than half an hour more, ho ! but he re- 
tired out of the room with another. He is, indeed, 
a most agreeable creature. 

" When he came to take his leave, the whole cere- 
mony began afresh : papa would see him to the door, 
but the colonel swore he would rather see the earth 
turned upside down than permit him to stir a single 
step, and papa was at last obliged to comply. As 
soon as he was got to the door, papa went out to 
see him on horseback : here they continued half an 
hour bowing and cringing before one would mount 
or the other go in ; but the colonel was at last vic- 
torious. He had scarce gone a hundred paces from 
the house, when papa, running out, hallooed after 
him, ' A good journey.' Upon which the colonel 
returned, and would see papa into his house before 
ever he would depart. He was no sooner got home 
than he sent me a veiy fine present of duck-eggs 
painted of twenty different colours. His generosity, 
I own, has won me. I have ever since been trying 
over the eight letters of good fortune, and have great 
hopes. All I have to apprehend is, that after he 
has married me, and that I am carried to his house 
close shut up in my chair, when he comes to have 
the first sight of my face, he may shut me up a sec- 
ond time and send me back to papa. However, I 
shall appear as fine as possible : mamma and I have 
been to buy the clothes for my wedding. I am to 
have a hew fang whang in my hair, the beak of which 
will reach down to my nose ; the milliner from whom 
we bought that and our ribands cheated us as if she 
had no conscience, and so, to quiet mine, I cheated 
her. All this is fair, you know. I remain, my dear 
Yaya, your ever faithful Yaoua." 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 53 



TO THE SAME. 

The Behaviour of the Congregation in St. Paul's Church at 

Prayers. 

Some time since I sent thee, oh holy disciple of 
Confucius ! an account of the grand abbey or mau- 
soleum of the kings and heroes of this nation. I 
have since been introduced to a temple not so an- 
cient, but far superior in beauty and magnificence. 
In this, which is the most considerable of the empire, 
there are no pompous inscriptions, no flattery paid 
the dead, but all is elegant and awfully simple. 
There are, however, a few rags hung round the 
walls, which have, at a vast expense, been taken 
fVom the enemy in the present war. The silk of 
which they are composed, when new, might be val- 
ued at half a string of copper money in China ; yet 
this wise people fitted out a fleet and an army in or- 
der to seize them ; though now grown old, and scarce 
capable of being patched up into a handkerchief. 
By this conquest, the English are said to have gain- 
ed, and the French to have lost, much honour. Is 
the honour of European nations placed only in tat- 
tered silk ? 

In this temple I was permitted to remain during 
the whole service ; and, were you not already ac- 
quainted with the religion of the English, you might, 
from my description, be inclined to believe them as 
grossly idolatrous as the disciples of Lao. The idol 
which they seem to address strides like a Colossus 
over the door of the inner temple, which here, as 
with the Jews, is esteemed the most sacred part of 
the building. Its oracles are delivered in a hundred 
various tones, which seem to inspire the worship- 
pers with enthusiasm and awe : an old woman, who 
appeared to be the priestess, was employed in vari- 
ous attitudes, as she felt the inspiration. When it 

E2 



54 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

began to speak, all the people remained fixed in si- 
lent attention, nodding assent, looking approbation, 
appearing highly edified by those sounds which, to 
a stranger, might seem inarticulate and unmeaning. 

When the idol had done speaking, and the priest- 
ess had locked up its lungs with a key, observing 
almost all the company leaving the temple, I con- 
cluded the service was over, and, taking my hat, was 
going to walk away with the crowd, when I was 
stopped by the man in black, who assured me that 
the ceremony had scarcely yet begun. " What !" 
cried I, " do I not see almost the whole body of the 
worshippers leaving the church ? Would you per- 
suade me that such numbers, who profess religion 
and morality, would, in this shameless manner, quit 
the temple before the service was concluded 1 You 
surely mistake ; not even the Kalmucs would be 
guilty of such an indecency, though all the object of 
their worship was but a joint-stool." My friend 
seemed to blush for his count^men, assuring me 
that those whom I saw running away were only a 
parcel of musical blockheads, whose passion was 
merely for sounds, and whose heads were as empty 
as a fiddle-case ; " those who remain behind," says 
he, " are the truly religious ; they make use of mu- 
sic to warm their hearts and to lift them to a proper 
pitch of rapture : examine their behaviour, and you 
will confess there are some among us who practise 
true devotion." 

I now looked round me as he directed, but saw 
nothing of that fervent devotion which he promised : 
one of the worshippers appeared to be ogling the 
company through a glass ; another was fervent, not 
in addresses to Heaven, but to his mistress ; a third 
whispered ; a fourth took snuff; and the priest him- 
self, in a drowsy tone, read over the duties of the 
day. 

" Bless my eyes," cried I, as I happened to look 
towards the door, " what do I see ! One of the wor- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 55 

shippers fallen fast asleep, and actually sunk down 
on his cushion : is he now enjoying the benefit of a 
trance, or does he receive the influence of some mys- 
terious vision T " Alas ! alas !" replied my compan- 
ion, " no such thing ; he has only had the misfortune 
of eating too hearty a dinner, and finds it impossible 
to keep his eyes open." Turning to another part 
of the temple, I perceived a young lady just in the 
same circumstances and attitude. " Strange," cried 
I ; " can she too have over-eaten herself?" " Oh fy," 
replied my friend, " you now grow censorious. She 
grow drowsy from eating too much! that would be 
profanation. She only sleeps now from having sat 
up all night at a brag-party." " Turn me where I 
will, then." says I, " I can perceive no single symp- 
tom of devotion among the worshippers, except from 
that old woman in the corner, who sits groaning be- 
hind the long sticks of a mourning fan ; she, indeed, 
seems greatly edified by what she hears." " Ay," 
replied my friend, " I knew we should find some to 
catch you : I know her: that is the deaf lady who 
lives in the cloisters." 

In short, the remissness of behaviour in almost all 
the worshippers, and some even of the guardians, 
struck me with surprise. I had been taught to be- 
lieve that none were ever promoted to offices in the 
temple but men remarkable for their superior sancti- 
ty, learning, and rectitude ; and there was no such 
thing heard of as persons being introduced into the 
church merely to oblige a senator, or provide for the 
younger branch of a noble family. I expected, as 
their minds were continually set upon heavenly 
things, to see their eyes directed there also, and 
hoped, from their behaviour, to perceive their inclina- 
tions correspond with their duty. But I am since 
informed that some are appointed to preside over 
temples they never visit ; and, Avhile they receive all 
the money, are contented with letting others do all 
the good. Adieu. 



56 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESI- 
DENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN 
CHINA. 

The Ardour of the People of London in running after Sights 

and Monsters. 

Though the frequent invitations I receive from 
men of distinction here might excite the vanity of 
some, I am quite mortified, however, when I consid- 
er the motives that inspire their civility. I am sent 
for, not to be treated as a friend, but to satisfy curi- 
osity ; not to be entertained so much as wondered 
at ; the same earnestness which excites them to see 
a Chinese would have made them equally proud of 
a visit from the rhinoceros. 

From the highest to the lowest, this people seem 
fond of sights and monsters. I am told of a person 
here who gets a very comfortable livelihood by ma- 
king wonders, and then selling or showing them to 
the people for money ; no matter how insignificant 
they were in the beginning, by locking them up 
close and showing them for money, they soon be- 
come prodigies. His first essay in this way was to 
exhibit himself as a waxwork figure behind a glass 
door at a puppet-show. Thus, keeping the specta- 
tors at a proper distance, and having his head adorn- 
ed with a copper crown, he looked extremely natu- 
ral, and very like the life itself. He continued this 
exhibition with success till an involuntary fit of 
sneezing brought him to life before all the specta- 
tors, and consequently rendered him for that time 
as entirely useless as the peaceable inhabitant of a 
catacomb. 

Determined to act the statue no more, he next 
levied contributions under the figure of an Indian 
king ; and, by painting his face and counterfeiting 
the savage howl, he frighted several ladies and chil- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 57 

dren with amazing success. In this manner, there- 
fore, he might have lived very comfortably, had he 
not been arrested for a debt that was contracted 
when he was the figure in waxwork : thus his face 
underwent an involuntary ablution, and he found 
himself reduced to his primitive complexion and in- 
digence. 

After some time, being freed from jail, he was 
now grown wiser, and, instead of making himself a 
wonder, was resolved only to make wonders. He 
learned the art of pasting up of mummies ; was 
never at a loss for an artificial lusus nature ; nay, it 
has been reported that he has sold seven petrified 
lobsters of his own manufacture to a noted collector 
of rarities ; but this the learned Cracovius Putridus 
has undertaken to refute in a very elaborate disser- 
tation. 

His last wonder was nothing more than a halter ; 
yet by this halter he gained more than by all his 
former exhibitions. The people, it seems, had got 
it in their heads that a certain noble criminal was to 
be hanged with a silken rope. Now there was no- 
thing they so much wished to see as this very rope ; 
and he was resolved to gratify their curiosity : he 
therefore got one made, not only of silk, but, to ren- 
der it the more striking, several threads of gold 
were intermixed. The people paid their money 
only to see silk, but were highly satisfied when 
they found it mixed with gold into the bargain. It 
is scarcely necessary to mention, that the proprietor 
sold his silken rope for almost what it hast cost him 
as soon as the criminal was known to be hanged in 
hempen materials. 

By their fondness of sights, one would be apt to 
imagine that, instead of desiring to see things as 
they should be, they are rather solicitous of seeing 
them as they ought not to be. A cat with four legs 
is disregarded, though ever 'so useful ; but, if it has 
but two, and is, consequently, incapable of catch- 



58 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ing mice, it is reckoned inestimable, and every man 
-of taste is ready to raise the auction. A man, 
though in his person faultless as an aerial genius, 
might starve ; but if stuck over with hideous warts 
like a porcupine, his fortune is made for ever, and 
he may propagate his breed with impunity and ap- 
plause. 

A good woman in my neighbourhood, who was 
bred a habitmaker, though she handled her needle 
tolerably well, could scarcely get employment. 
But being obliged, by an accident, to have both her 
hands cut off from her elbows, what would in an- 
other country have been her ruin, made her fortune 
here ; she now was thought more fit for her trade 
than before ; business flowed in apace, and all peo- 
ple paid for seeing the mantuamaker who wrought 
without hands. 

A gentleman, showing me his collection of pic- 
tures, stopped at one, with peculiar admiration : 
" There," cries he, " is an inestimable piece." I 
gazed at the picture for some time, but could see 
none of those graces with which he seemed enrap- 
tured ; it appeared to me the most paltry piece of 
the whole collection : I therefore demanded where 
those beauties lay of which I was yet insensible. 
" Sir," cries he, " the merit does not consist in the 
piece, but in the manner in which it was done. The 
painter drew the whole with his foot, and held the 
pencil between his toes ; I bought it at a very great 
price, for peculiar merit should ever be rewarded." 

But these people are not more fond of wonders 
than liberal in rewarding those who show them. 
From the wonderful dog of knowledge at present 
under the patronage of the nobility, down to the 
man with the box, who professes to show "the 
most exact imitation of nature that ever was seen," 
they all live in luxury. A singing-woman shall col- 
lect subscriptions in her own coach and six ; a fel- 
low shall make a fortune by tossing a straw from 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 59 

his toe to his nose ; one, in particular, has found that 
eating fire was the most ready way to live ; and an- 
other, who jingles several bells fixed to his cap, is the 
only man that I know of who has received emolu- 
ment from the labours of his head. 

A young author, a man of good-nature and learn- 
ing, was complaining to me, some nights ago, of this 
misplaced generosity of these times. " Here," says 
he, " have I spent part of my youth in attempting 
to instruct and amuse my fellow-creatures, and all 
my reward has been solitude, poverty, and reproach ; 
while a fellow possessed of even the smallest share 
of fiddling merit, or who has, perhaps, learned to 
whistle double, is rewarded, applauded, and caress- 
ed !" " Prithee, young man," says I to him, " are 
you ignorant that, in so large a city as this, it is bet- 
ter to be an amusing than a useful member of socie- 
ty ? Can you leap up and touch your feet four times 
before you come to the ground V " No, sir." " Can 
you stand upon two horses at full speed V " No, 
sir." " Can you swallow a penknife V " I can do 
none of these tricks." " Why, then," cried 1, 
" there is no other prudent means of subsistence 
left but to apprize the town that you speedily in- 
tend to eat up your own nose by subscription." 

I have frequently regretted that none of our East- 
ern posture-masters or showmen have ever ventured 
to England. I should be pleased to see that money 
circulate in Asia which is now sent to Italy and 
France in order to bring their vagabonds hither. 
Several of our tricks would undoubtedly give the 
English high satisfaction. Men of fashion would be 
greatly pleased with the postures as well as the 
condescension of our dancing-girls ; and the ladies 
would equally admire the conductors of our fire- 
works. What an agreeable surprise would it be to 
see a huge fellow with whiskers flash a charged 
blunderbuss full in a lady's face without singing her 
hair or melting her pomatum ! Perhaps, when the 



60 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

first surprise was over, she might then grow famil- 
iar with danger, and the ladies might vie with each 
other in standing fire with intrepidity. 

But, of all the wonders of the East, the most use- 
ful, and, I should fancy, the most pleasing, would be 
the looking-glass of Lao, which reflects the mind as 
well as the body. It is said that the Emperor Chusi 
used to make his concubines dress their heads and 
their hearts in one of these glasses every morning : 
while the lady was at her toilet, he would frequently 
look over her shoulder ; and it is recorded that, 
among the three hundred which composed his se- 
raglio, not one was found whose mind was not even 
more beautiful than her person. 

I make no doubt but a glass in this country would 
have the very same effect. The English ladies, con- 
cubines and all, would undoubtedly cut very pretty 
figures in so faithful a monitor. There, should we 
happen to peep over a lady's shoulder while dress- 
ing, we might be able to see neither gaining nor ill- 
nature ; neither pride, debauchery, nor a love of 
gadding. We should find her, if any sensible defect 
appeared in the mind, more careful in rectifying it 
than plastering up the irreparable decays of the per- 
son ; nay, I am even apt to fancy that ladies would 
find more real pleasure in this utensil in private than 
in any other bawble imported from China, though 
ever so expensive or amusing. Adieu. 



TO THE SAME. 

A Dream. 



Upon finishing my last letter I retired to rest, re- 
flecting upon the wonders of the glass of Lao, wish- 
ing to be possessed of one here, and resolved in such 
a case to oblige every lady with the sight of it for 
nothing. What fortune denied me waking, fancy 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 61 

supplied in a dream : the glass, I know not how, 
was put into my possession, and I could perceive 
several ladies approaching, some voluntarily, others 
driven forward against their inclination by a set of 
discontented genii, whom by intuition I knew were 
their husbands. 

The apartment in which I was to show away was 
filled with several gaming-tables, as if just forsaken ; 
the candles were burned to the sockets, and the hour 
was five o'clock in the morning. Placed at one end 
of the room, which was of prodigious length, I could 
more easily distinguish every female figure as she 
marched up from the door ; but guess my surprise 
when I could scarce perceive one blooming or agree- 
able face among the number. This, however, I at- 
tributed to the early hour, and kindly considered 
that the face of a lady just risen from bed ought al- 
ways to find a compassionate advocate. 

The first person who came up in order to view 
her intellectual face was a commoner's wife, who, 
as I afterward found, being bred up during her 
youth in a pawnbroker's shop, now attempted to 
make up the defects of breeding and sentiment by 
the magnificence of her dress and the expensiveness 
of her amusements. " Mr. Showman," cried she, 
approaching, " I am told you has something to show 
in that there sort of magic lanthorn, by which folks 
can see themselves on the inside : I protest, as my 
Lord Beetle says, I am sure it will be vastly pretty, 
for I have never seen anything like it before. But 
how 1 Are we to strip off our clothes, and be turned 
inside out ? If so, as Lord Beetle says, I absolutely 
declare off." I informed the lady that I would dis- 
pense with the ceremony of stripping, and immedi- 
ately presented my glass to her view. 

As when a first-rate beauty, after having with dif- 
ficulty escaped the smallpox, revisits her favourite 
mirror — that mirror which had repeated the flattery 
Of every lover, and even added force to the compli- 

Vol. II— F 



62 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ment — expecting to see what had so often given her 
pleasure, she no longer beholds the cherried lip, the 
polished forehead, and speaking blush, but a hateful 
phiz, quilted into a thousand seams by the hand of 
deformity : grief, resentment, and rage fill her bosom 
by turns : she blames the fates and the stars, but, 
most of all, the unhappy glass feels her resentment. 
So it was with the lady in question : she had never 
seen her own mind before, and was now shocked at 
its own deformity. One single look was sufficient 
to satisfy her curiosity. I held up the glass to her 
face, and she shut her eyes : no entreaties could 
prevail upon her to gaze once more ! She was even 
going to snatch it from my hands, and break it in a 
thousand pieces. I found it was time, therefore, to 
dismiss her as incorrigible, and show away to the 
next that offered. 

This was an unmarried lady. No woman was 
louder at a revel than she, perfectly free-hearted, 
and almost in every respect a man : she understood 
ridicule to perfection, and was once known even 
to sally out in order to beat the watch. " Here, you 
my dear with the outlandish face," said she, ad- 
dressing me, " let me take a single peep — not that I 
care three straws what a figure 1 cut in the glass of 
such an oldfashioned creature ; for, if I am allowed 
the beauties of the face by people of fashion, I know 
the world will be complaisant enough to toss me the 
beauties of the mind into the bargain." I held my 
glass before her as she desired, and must confess, 
was shocked with the reflection. The lady, how- 
ever, gazed for some time with the utmost compla- 
cency ; and at last, turning to me with the most sat- 
isfied smile, said she never could think she had been 
half so handsome. 

Upon her dismission, a lady of distinction was re- 
luctantly hauled along to the glass by her husband. 
In bringing her forward, as he came first to the glass 
himself, his mind appeared tinctured with immoder- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 63 

ate jealousy, and I was going to reproach him for 
using her with such severity; but when the lady 
came to present herself, I immediately retracted ; 
for, alas ! it was seen that he had but too much rea- 
son for his suspicions. 

The next was a lady who usually teased all her 
acquaintance in desiring to be told of her faults, and 
then never mended any. Upon approaching the 
glass, I could readily perceive vanity, affectation, 
and some other ill-looking blots on her mind ; where- 
fore, by my advice, she immediately set about mend- 
ing. But I could easily find she was not in earnest 
in the work ; for, as she repaired them on one side, 
they generally broke out on another. Thus, after 
three or four attempts, she began to make the or- 
dinary use of the glass in setting her hair. 

The company now made room for a woman of 
learning, who approached with a slow pace and a 
solemn countenance, which, for her own sake, I 
could wish had been cleaner. " Sir," cried the lady, 
flourishing her hand, which held a pinch of snuff, " I 
shall be enraptured by having presented to my view 
a mind with which I have so long studied to be ac- 
quainted ; but, in order to give the sex a proper ex- 
ample, I must insist that all the company may be 
permitted to look over my shoulder." I bowed as- 
sent, and, presenting the glass, showed the lady a 
mind by no means so fair as she had expected to 
see. Ill nature, ill-placed pride, and spleen were 
too legible to be mistaken. Nothing could be more 
amusing than the mirth of her female companions 
Avho had looked over. They had hated her from the 
beginning, and now the apartment echoed with a uni- 
versal laugh. Nothing but a fortitude like hers 
could have withstood their raillery : she stood it, 
however ; and, when the burst was exhausted, with 
great tranquillity she assured the company that the 
whole was a deceptio visus, and that she was too 
well acquainted with her own mind to believe any 



64 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

false representations from another. Thus saying, 
she retired with sullen satisfaction, resolved not to 
mend her faults, but to write a criticism on the men- 
tal reflector. 

I must own, by this time I began myself to sus- 
pect the fidelity of my mirror ; for, as the ladies ap- 
peared at least to have the merit of rising early, since 
they were up at five, I was amazed to find nothing 
of this good quality pictured upon their minds in 
the reflection ; I was resolved, therefore, to commu- 
nicate my suspicions to a lady, whose intellectual 
countenance appeared more fair than any of the rest, 
not having more than seventy-nine spots in all, be- 
sides slips and foibles. "I own, young woman," 
said I, " that there are some virtues upon that mind 
of yours ; but there is still one which I do not see 
represented : I mean that of rising betimes in the 
morning : I fancy the glass false in that particular." 
The young lady smiled at my simplicity ; and, with 
a blush, confessed that she and the whole company 
had been up all night gaming. 

By this time all the ladies except one had seen 
themselves successively, and disliked the show or 
scolded the showman; I was resolved, however, 
that she who seemed to neglect herself, and was 
neglected by the rest, should take a view ; and, go- 
ing up to a corner of the room where she still con- 
tinued sitting, I presented my glass full in her face. 
Here it was that I exulted in my success ; no blot, 
no stain appeared on any part of the faithful mirror. 
As when the large unwritten page presents its 
snowy, spotless bosom to the writer's hand, so ap- 
peared the glass to my view. " Here, oh ye daugh- 
ters of English ancestors," cried I, " turn hither, and 
behold an object worthy of imitation : look upon the 
mirror now, and acknowledge its justice and this 
woman's pre-eminence !" The ladies, obeying the 
summons, came up in a group, and, looking on, ac- 
knowledged there was some truth in the picture, as 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 65 

the person now represented had been deaf, dumb, 
and a fool from her cradle. 

This much of my dream I distinctly remember ; 
the rest was filled with chimeras, enchanted castles, 
and flying dragons, as usual. As you, my dear Fum 
Hoam, are particularly versed in the interpretation 
of midnight warnings, what pleasure should I find 
in your explanation ; but that our distance prevents. 
I make no doubt, however, but that, from my descrip- 
tion, you will very much venerate the good qualities 
of the English ladies in general, since dreams, you 
know, go always by contraries. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO ***, MERCHANT IN AMSTER- 
DAM. 

The Absurdity of Persons in High Stations pursuing Employ- 
ments beneath them, exemplified in a Fairy Tale. 

Happening some days ago to call at a painter's, to 
amuse myself in examining some pictures (I had no 
design to buy), it surprised me to see a young prince 
in the working-room, dressed in a painter's apron, 
and assiduously learning the trade. We instantly 
remembered to have seen each other ; and, after the 
usual compliments, I stood by while he continued to 
paint on. As everything done by the rich is praised — 
as princes here, as well as in China, are never with- 
out followers — three or four persons, who had the ap- 
pearance of gentlemen, were placed behind to com- 
fort and applaud him at every stroke. 

Need I tell that it struck me with very disagreea- 
ble sensations " to see a youth who, by his station 
in life, had it in his power to be useful to thousands, 
thus letting his mind run to waste upon canvass, and, 
at the same time, fancying himself improving in 
taste, and filling his rank with proper decorum." 

F2 



66 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

As seeing an error and attempting to redress it 
are only one and the same with me, I took occasion, 
upon his lordship's desiring my opinion of a Chinese 
scroll intended for the frame of a picture, to assure 
him that a mandarine of China thought a minute ac- 
quaintance with such mechanical trifles below his 
dignity. 

This reply raised the indignation of some and the 
contempt of others : I could hear the names of Van- 
dal, Goth, taste, polite arts, delicacy, and fire repeat- 
ed in tones of ridicule or resentment. But, consid- 
ering that it was in vain to argue against people who 
had so much to say, without contradicting them I 
begged leave to repeat a fairy tale. This request 
redoubled their laughter ; but, not easily abashed at 
the raillery of boys, I persisted, observing that it 
would set the absurdity of placing our affections 
upon trifles in the strongest point of view ; and add- 
ing that it was hoped the moral would compensate 
for its stupidity. " For Heaven's sake," cried the 
great man, washing his brush in water, " let us have 
no morality at present ; if we must have a story, let 
it be without any moral." I pretended not to hear; 
and, while he handled the brush, proceeded as follows : 

" In the kingdom of Bonbobbin, which, by the 
Chinese annals, appears to have flourished twenty 
thousand years ago, there reigned a prince endowed 
with every accomplishment which generally distin- 
guishes the sons of kings. His beauty was brighter 
than the sun. The sun, to which he was nearly re- 
lated, would sometimes stop his course in order to 
look down and admire him. 

" His mind was not less perfect than his body : 
he knew all things without ever having read ; phi- 
losophers, poets, and historians submitted their 
works to his decision ; and so penetrating was he, 
that he could tell the merit of a book by looking on 
the cover. He made epic poems, tragedies, and pas- 
torals with surprising facility , song, epigram, or re- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 67 

bus was all one to him, though it was observed he 
could never finish an acrostic. In short, the fairy 
who presided at his birth had endowed him with al- 
most every perfection, or, what was just the same, 
his subjects Avere ready to acknowledge he possess- 
ed them all ; and, for his own part, he knew nothing 
to the contrary. A prince so accomplished receiv- 
ed a name suitable to his merit ; and he was called 
Bonbenin-bonbobbin-bonbobbinet, which signifies En- 
lightener of the Sun. 

" As he was very powerful and yet unmarried, all 
the neighbouring kings earnestly sought his alliance. 
Each sent his daughter, dressed out in the most 
magnificent manner, and with the most sumptuous 
retinue imaginable, in order to allure the prince ; so 
that at one time there were seen at his court not 
less than seven hundred foreign princesses of ex- 
quisite sentiment and beauty, each alone sufficient 
to make seven hundred ordinary men happy. 

" Distracted in such a variety, the generous Bon- 
benin, had he not been obliged by the laws of the 
empire to make choice of one, would very willingly 
have married them all, for no one understood gallant- 
ry better. He spent numberless hours of solitude in 
endeavouring to determine whom he should choose : 
one lady was possessed of every perfection, but he 
disliked her eyebrows ; another was brighter than 
the morning star, but he disapproved her fong whang ; 
a third did not lay white enough on her cheek ; and 
a fourth did not sufficiently blacken her nails. At 
last, after numberless disappointments on the one 
side and the other, he made choice of the incompara- 
ble Nanhoa, queen of the scarlet dragons. 

" The preparations for the royal nuptials, or the 
envy of the disappointed ladies, need no description ; 
both the one and the other were as great as they 
could be ; the beautiful princess was conducted, amid 
admiring multitudes, to the royal couch, where, after 
being divested of every encumbering ornament, she 



68 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

was placed in expectance of the youthful bride- 
groom, who did not keep her long in expectation. 
He came more cheerful than the morning; and 
printing on her lips a burning kiss, the attendants 
took this as a proper signal to withdraw. 

" Perhaps I ought to have mentioned in the begin- 
ning, that, among several other qualifications, the 
prince was fond of collecting and breeding mice, 
which being a harmless pastime, none of his coun- 
sellors thought proper to dissuade him from it : he 
therefore kept a great variety of these pretty little 
animals in the most beautiful cages, enriched with 
diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls, and other pre- 
cious stones : thus he innocently spent four hours 
each day in contemplating their innocent little pas- 
times. 

" But to proceed. The prince and princess were 
now in bed ; one with all the love and expectation, 
the other with all the modesty and fear which is nat- 
ural to suppose ; when the prince, happening to look 
towards the outside of the bed, perceived one of the 
most beautiful animals in the world, a white mouse 
with green eyes, playing about the floor and per- 
forming a hundred pretty tricks. He was already 
master of blue mice, red mice, and even white mice 
with yellow eyes ; but a white mouse with green 
eyes was what he had long endeavoured to possess : 
wherefore, leaping from bed with the utmost impa- 
tience and agility, the youthful prince attempted to 
seize the little charmer ; but it was fled in a moment ; 
for, alas ! the mouse was sent by a discontented 
princess, and was itself a fairy. 

"It is impossible to describe the agony of the 
prince upon this occasion. He sought round and 
round the room ; even the bed where the princess 
lay was not exempt from the inquiry, but still to no 
purpose. 

" ' Alas !' cried the young prince in an agony, ' how 
unhappy am I to be dispapointed ! never sure was 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 69 

so beautiful an animal seen ! I would give half my 
kingdom and my princess to him that would find it.' 
The princess, though not much pleased with the latter 
part of his offer, endeavoured to comfort him as well 
as she could ; she let him know that he had a hundred 
mice already, which ought to be at least sufficient to 
satisfy any philosopher like him. Though none of 
them had green eyes, yet he should learn to thank 
Heaven that they had eyes. She told him (for she 
was a profound moralist) that incurable evils must 
be borne ; that useless lamentations were vain ; and 
that man was born to misfortunes : she even en- 
treated him to return to bed, and she would endeav- 
our to lull him on her bosom to repose ; but still the 
prince continued inconsolable ; and, regarding her 
with a stern air, for which his family was remarka- 
ble, he vowed never to sleep in the royal palace, or 
indulge himself in the innocent pleasures of matri- 
mony, till he had found the white mouse with the 
green eyes." 

" Prithee, Colonel Leech," cried his lordship, in- 
terrupting me, "how do you like that nose ? Don't 
you think there is something of the manner of Rem- 
brandt in it \ A prince in all this agony for a white 
mouse — oh ridiculous ! Don't you think, Major Vam- 
pyre, that eyebrow stippled very prettily ? But, pray, 
what are the green eyes to the purpose, except to 
amuse children 1 I would give a thousand guineas 
to lay on the colouring of this cheek more smooth- 
ly. But I ask pardon ; pray, sir, proceed." 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Fairy Tale continued. 

" Kings," continued I, " at that time were different 
from what they are now ; they then never engaged 
their word for anything which they did not rigor- 



70 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ousiy intend to perform. This was the case of Bon- 
benin, who continued all night to lament his misfor- 
tunes to the princess, who echoed groan for groan. 
When morning came he published an edict, offering 
half his kingdom and his princess to the person who 
should catch and bring him the white mouse with 
green eyes. 

" The edict was scarce published, when all the 
traps in the kingdom were baited with cheese ; num- 
berless mice were taken and destroyed, but still the 
much-wished-for mouse was not among the number. 
The privy council was assembled more than once to 
give their advice ; but all their deliberations came to 
nothing, even though there were two complete ver- 
min-killers and three professed rat-catchers of the 
number. Frequent addresses, as is usual on extra- 
ordinary occasions, were sent from all parts of the 
empire ; but, though these promised well, though in 
them he received an assurance that his faithful sub- 
jects would assist in his search with their lives and 
fortunes, yet, with all their loyalty, they failed when 
the time came that the mouse was to be caught. 

" The prince, therefore, was resolved to go himself 
in search, determined never to lie two nights in one 
place till he had found what he sought for. Thus, 
quitting his palace without attendants, he set out 
upon his journey, and travelled through many a des- 
ert, and crossed many a river, high over hills, and 
down along vales, still restless, still inquiring wher- 
ever he came ; but no white mouse was to be found. 

" As, one day, fatigued with his journey, he was 
shading himself from the heat of the midday sun 
under the arching branches of a banana-tree, medi- 
tating on the object of his pursuit, he perceived an 
old woman, hideously deformed, approaching him ; 
by her stoop, and the wrinkles of her visage, she 
seemed at least five hundred years old ; and the 
spotted toad was not more freckled than was her 
skin. ' Ah ! Prince Bonbenin-bonbobbin-bonbobbi- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 71 

net,' cried the creature, ' what has led you so many 
thousand miles from your own kingdom 1 What is 
it you look for, and what induces you to travel into 
the kingdom of the Emmets V The prince was ex- 
cessively complaisant, and told her the whole sto- 
ry three times over ; for she was hard of hearing. 
* Well,' says the old fairy, for such she was, ' I 
promise to put you in possession of the white mouse 
with green eyes, and that immediately, too, upon 
one condition.' 'One condition !' cried the prince, 
in a rapture ; ' name a thousand ; I shall undergo 
them all with pleasure.' • Nay,' interrupted the old 
fairy, ' I ask but one, and that not very mortifying 
either ; it is only that you instantly consent to mar- 
ry me.' 

" It is impossible to express the prince's confusion 
at this demand : he loved the mouse, but he detest- 
ed the bride : he hesitated : he desired time to think 
upon the proposal : he would have been glad to con- 
sult his friends on such an occasion. ' Nay, nay,' 
cried the odious fairy, ' if you demur, I retract my 
promise ; I do not desire to force my favours on any 
man. Here, you my attendants,' cried she, stamp*- 
ing with her foot, ' let my machine be driven up : 
Barbacela, Queen of the Emmets, is not used to con- 
temptuous treatment.' She had no sooner spoken 
than her fiery chariot appeared in the air, drawn by 
two snails ; and she was just going to step in, when 
the prince reflected that now or never was the time 
to be possessed of the white mouse ; and, quite for- 
getting his lawful princess Nanhoa, falling on his 
knees, he implored forgiveness for having rashly re- 
jected so much beauty. This well-timed compli- 
ment instantly appeased the angiy fairy. She af- 
fected a hideous leer of approbation ; and, taking the 
young prince by the hand, conducted him to a neigh- 
bouring church, where they were married together 
in a moment. As soon as the ceremony was per- 
formed, the prince, who was to the last degree desi- 



1% OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

rous of seeing his favourite mouse, reminded the 
bride of her promise. ' To confess a truth, my 
prince,' cried she, ' I myself am that very white 
mouse you saw on your wedding-night in the royal 
apartment. I now, therefore, give you the choice 
whether you would have me a mouse by day and a 
woman by night, or a mouse by night and a woman 
by day.' Though the prince was an excellent cas- 
uist, he was quite at a loss how to determine ; but 
at last thought it most prudent to have recourse to 
a blue cat that had followed him from his own do- 
minions, and frequently amused him with its conver- 
sation, and assisted him with its advice : in fact, this 
cat was no other than the faithful Princess Nanhoa 
herself, who had shared with him all his hardships 
in this disguise. 

" By her instructions he was determined in his 
choice ; and, returning to the old fairy, prudently 
observed, that, as she must have been sensible he 
had married her only for the sake of what she had, 
and not for her personal qualifications, he thought 
it would, for several reasons, be most convenient 
rf she continued a woman by day, and appeared a 
mouse by night. 

"The old fairy was a good deal mortified at her 
husband's want of gallantry, though she was reluc- 
tantly obliged to comply : the day was therefore 
spent in the most polite amusements. At last the 
happy night drew near ; the blue cat still stuck by 
the side of its master, and even followed him to 
the bridal apartment. Barbacela entered the cham- 
ber wearing a train of fifteen yards long, support- 
ed by porcupines, and all over beset with jewels, 
which served to render her more detestable. She 
was just stepping into bed to the prince, forgetting, 
her promise, when he insisted upon seeing her in 
the shape of a mouse. She had promised, and no 
fairy can break her word ; wherefore, assuming the 
figure of the most beautiful mouse in the world, she 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 73 

skipped and played about with an infinity of amuse- 
ment. The prince, in an agony of rapture, was de- 
sirous of seeing his pretty playfellow move a slow 
dance about the floor to his own singing ; he began 
to sing, and the mouse immediately to perform, with 
the most perfect knowledge of time, and the finest 
grace and greatest gravity imaginable : it only be- 
gan, for Nanhoa, who had long waited for the op- 
portunity in the shape of a cat, flew upon it instant- 
ly without remorse, and, eating it up in the hundredth 
part of a moment, broke the charm, and then resumed 
her natural figure. 

" The prince now found that he had all along been 
under the power of enchantment ; that his passion 
for the white mouse was entirely fictitious, and not 
the genuine complexion of his soul : he now saw that 
his earnestness after mice was an illiberal amuse- 
ment, and much more becoming a rat-catcher than 
a prince. All his meanness now stared him in the 
face : he begged the discreet princess's pardon a 
hundred times. The princess very readily forgave 
him ; and, both returning to their palace hi Bonbob- 
bin, lived very happily together, and reigned many 
years with all that wisdom which, by the story, they 
appear to have been possessed of; perfectly con- 
vinced by their former adventures that they who 
place their affections on trifles, at first for amuse- 
ment, will find those trifles at last become their se- 
rious concern.'' Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESI- 
DENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN 
CHINA. 

A Bookseller's Visit to the Chinese. 

As I was yesterday seated at breakfast over a 
pensive dish of tea, my meditations were internapt- 
Vol. II. — G 



74 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ed by my old friend and companion, who introduced 
a stranger, dressed pretty much like himself. The 
gentleman made several apologies for his visit, and 
begged of me to impute his intrusion to the sincerity 
of his respect and the warmth of his curiosity. 

As I am very suspicious of my company when I 
find them very civil without any apparent reason, I 
answered the stranger's caresses at first with re- 
serve ; which my friend perceiving, instantly let me 
into my visitant's trade and character, asking Mr. 
Fudge whether he had lately published anything 
new. I now conjectured that my guest was no 
other than a bookseller, and his answer confirmed 
my suspicions. 

" Excuse me, sir," says he, " this is not the sea- 
son ; books have their time as well as cucumbers. 
I would no more bring out a new book in summer 
than I would sell pork in the dogdays. Nothing in 
my way goes off in summer except very light goods 
indeed. A review, a magazine, or a session's-pa- 
per may amuse a summer reader ; but all our stock 
of value we reserve for a spring and winter trade." 
" I must confess, sir," says I, " a curiosity to know 
what you call a valuable stock, which can only bear 
a winter perusal." "Sir," replied the bookseller, 
" it is not my way to cry up my own goods ; but, 
without exaggeration, I will venture to show with 
any of the trade ; my books at least having the pe- 
culiar advantage of being always new ; and it is my 
way to clear off my old to the trunkmakers every 
season. I have ten new title-pages now about me, 
which only want books to be added to make them 
the finest things in nature. Others may pretend to 
direct the vulgar, but that is not my way ; I always 
let the vulgar direct me : wherever popular clamour 
arises, I always echo the million. For instance, 
should the people in general say that such a man is 
a rogue, I always give orders to set him down in 
print a villain : thus every man buys the book, not 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 75 

to learn new sentiments, but to have the pleasure of 
seeing his own reflected." " But, sir," interrupted 
I, " you speak as if you yourself wrote the books 
you published ; may I be so bold as to ask a sight 
of those intended publications which are shortly to 
surprise the world !" " As to that, sir," replied the 
talkative bookseller, " I only draw out the plans my- 
self; and, though I am very cautious of communi- 
cating them to any, yet, as in the end I have a fa- 
vour to ask, you shall see a few of them. Here, 
sir, here they are ; diamonds of the first water, I as- 
sure you. Imprimis, a Translation of several Medi- 
cal Precepts for the use of such Physicians as do 
not understand Latin. Item, the Young Clergy- 
man's Art of placing Patches regularly, with a Dis- 
sertation on the different Manners of Smiling with- 
out distorting the Face. Item, the Whole Art of 
Love made perfectly easy, by a Broker of 'Change 
Alley. Item, the Proper Manner of cutting Black- 
lead Pencils and making Crayons, by the Right 
Hon. the Earl of ***. Item, the Mustermaster- 
General, or the Review of Reviews—" " Sir," cried 
I, interrupting him, " my curiosity with regard to 
title-pages is satisfied ; I should be glad to see some 
longer manuscript — a history, or an epic poem." 
" Bless me," cries the man of industry, " now you 
speak of an epic poem, you shall see an excellent 
farce. Here it is : dip into it where you will, it will 
be found replete with modern humour. Strokes, 
sir ! it is filled with strokes of wit and satire in ev- 
ery line." " Do you call these dashes of the pen 
strokes !" replied I ; " for, I must confess, I can see 
no other." "And pray, sir," returned he, "what do 
you call them ! Do you see anything good nowa- 
days that is not filled with strokes — and dashes? 
Sir, a well-placed dash makes half the wit of our 
writers of modern humour. I bought a piece last 
season that had no other merit upon earth than nine 
hundred and ninety-five breaks, seventy-two ha-ha's, 



76 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

three good things, and a garter. And yet it played 
off, and bounced, and cracked, and made more noise 
than a firework." " I fancy then, sir, you were a 
considerable gainer?" " It must be owned the piece 
did pay ; but, upon the whole, I cannot make much 
boast of last winter's success ; I gained by two 
murders, but then I lost by an ill-timed charity ser- 
mon. I was a considerable sufferer by my Direct 
Road to an Estate; but then the Infernal Guide 
brought me up again. Ah, sir, that was a piece 
touched off by the hand of a master; filled with 
good things from one end to the other. The author 
had nothing but the jest in view ; no dull moral 
lurking beneath, nor ill-natured satire to sour the 
reader's good-humour ; he wisely considered that 
moral and humour at the same time were quite 
overdoing the business." "To what purpose was 
the book then published !" cried I. " Sir, the book 
was published in order to be sold ; and no book sold 
better, except the criticisms upon it, which came out 
soon after. Of all kinds of writing, that goes off 
best at present ; and I generally fasten a criticism 
upon every selling book that is published. 

" I once had an author who never left the least 
opening for the critics ; close was the word ; always 
very right and very dull ; ever on the same side of 
an argument ; yet, with all his qualifications, incapa- 
ble of coming into favour. I soon perceived that 
his bent was for criticism ; and, as he was good for 
nothing else, supplied him with pens and paper, and 
planted him at the beginning of every month as a 
censor on the works of others. In short, I found 
him a treasure ; no merit could escape him : but, 
what is most remarkable of all, he ever wrote best 
and bitterest when drunk." "But are there not 
some works," interrupted' I, " that, from the very 
manner of their composition, must be exempt from 
criticism ; particularly such as profess to disregard 
its laws ?" " There is no work whatsoever but he 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 77 

can criticise," replied the bookseller ; " even though 
you wrote in Chinese, he would have a pluck at you. 
Suppose you should take it into your head to publish 
a book — let it be a volume of Chinese letters, for in- 
stance — write how you will, he shall show the world 
you could have written better. Should you, with 
the most local exactness, stick to the manners and 
customs of the country from whence you came; 
should you confine yourself to the narrow limits of 
Eastern knowledge, and be perfectly simple and per- 
fectly natural, he has then the strongest reason to 
exclaim. He may, with a sneer, send you back to 
China for readers. He may observe, that after the 
first or second letter, the iteration of the same sim- 
plicity is insupportably tedious ; but the worst of all 
is, the public in such a case will anticipate his cen- 
sures, and leave you, with all your uninstructed sim- 
plicity, to be mauled at discretion." 

" Yes," cried I ; " but, in order to avoid his indig- 
nation, and what I should fear more, that of the pub- 
lic, I would, in such a case, write with all the knowl- 
edge I was master of. As I am not possessed of 
much learning, at least I would not suppress what 
little I had ; nor would I appear more stupid than 
nature has made me." "Here, then," cries the 
bookseller, "we should have you entirely in our 
power; unnatural, uneastern; quite out of charac- 
ter ; erroneously sensible, would be the whole cry. 
Sir, we should then hunt you down like a rat." 
" Head of my father !" said I, " sure there are but 
two ways ; the door must either be shut or it must be 
open. I must either be natural or unnatural." " Be 
what you will, we shall criticise you," returned the 
bookseller, " and prove you a dunce in spite of your 
teeth. But, sir, it is time that I should come to bu- 
siness. I have just now in the press a History of 
China ; and, if you will but put your name to it as « 
the author, I shall repay the obligation with grati- 
tude." " What, sir !" replied I, " put my name to a 

G2 



78 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

work which I have not written ? Never while I re- 
tain a proper respect for the public and myself." 
The bluntness of my reply quite abated the ardour 
of the bookseller's conversation ; and, after half an 
hour's disagreeable reserve, he, with some ceremo- 
ny, took his leave and withdrew. Adieu. 



TO THE SAME. 

The Impossibility of distinguishing Men in England by their 

Dress. 

In all other countries, my dear Fum Hoam, the 
rich are distinguished by their dress. In Persia, 
China, and the most part of Europe, those who are 
possessed of much gold and silver put some of it 
upon their clothes'; but in England, those who carry 
much upon their clothes are remarked for having 
but little in their pockets. A tawdry outside is re- 
garded as a badge of poverty ; and those who can sit 
at home, and gloat over their thousands in silent sat- 
isfaction, are generally found to do it in plain clothes. 
< This diversity of thinking from the rest of the 
world which prevails here, I was at first at a loss 
to account for, but am since informed that it was 
introduced by an intercourse between them and their 
neighbours, the French ; who, whenever they came 
in order to pay those islanders a visit, were gener- 
ally very well dressed and very poor, daubed with 
lace, but all the gilding on the outside. By this 
means laced clothes have been brought into such 
contempt, that at present even their mandarines are 
ashamed of finery. 

■ I must own myself a convert to English simplici- 
ty ; I am no more for ostentation of wealth than of 
* learning ; the person who in company should pre- 
tend to be wiser than others, I am apt to regard as 
illiterate and ill bred ; the person whose clothes are 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 79 

extremely fine I am too apt to consider as not being 
possessed of any superiority of fortune, but resem- 
bling those Indians who were found to wear all the 
gold they have in the world in a bob at the nose. 

I was lately introduced into a company of the best 
dressed men I have seen since my arrival. Upon 
entering the room, I was struck with awe at the 
grandeur of the different dresses. " That person- 
age," thought I, " in blue and gold, must be some 
emperor's son ; that in green and silver, a prince 
of the blood ; he in embroidered scarlet, a prime 
minister ; all first-rate noblemen, I suppose, and 
well-looking noblemen too." I sat for some time 
w r ith that uneasiness which conscious inferiority 
produces in the ingenuous mind, all attention to their 
discourse. However, I found their conversation 
more vulgar than I could have expected from per- 
sonages of such distinction. " If these," thought I 
to myself, "be princes, they are the most stupid 
princes I have ever conversed with." Yet still I 
continued to venerate their dress ; for dress has a 
kind of mechanical influence on the mind. 

My friend in black, indeed, did not behave with 
the same deference, but contradicted the finest of 
them all in the most peremptory tones of contempt. 
But I had scarcely time to wonder at the imprudence 
of his conduct, when I found occasion to be equally 
surprised at the absurdity of theirs ; for, upon the 
entry of a middle-aged man, dressed in a cap, dirty 
shirt, and boots, the whole circle seemed diminished 
of their former importance, and contended who 
should be first to pay their obeisance to the stran- 
ger. They somewhat resembled a circle of Kal- 
mucs offering incense to a bear. 

Eager to know the cause of so much seeming 
contradiction, I whispered my friend out of the 
room, and found that the august company consisted 
of no other than a dancing-master, two fiddlers, and 
a third-rate actor, all assembled in order to make a 



80 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

set at country-dances ; and the middle-aged gentle- 
man whom I saw enter was a squire from the coun- 
try, and desirous of learning the new manner of 
footing and smoothing up the rudiments of his rural 
minuet. 

I was no longer surprised at the authority which 
my friend assumed among them ; nay, was even dis- 
pleased (pardon my Eastern education) that he had 
not kicked every creature of them down stairs. 
" What !" said I, " shall a set of such paltry fellows 
dress themselves up like sons of kings, and claim 
even the transitory respect of half an hour ? There 
should be some law to restrain so manifest a breach 
of privilege ; they should go from house to house, 
as in China, with the instruments of their profession 
strung round their necks ; by this means we might 
be able to distinguish, and treat them in a style of 
becoming contempt." " Hold, my friend," replied 
my companion ; " were your reformation to take 
place as dancing-masters and fiddlers now mimic 
gentlemen in appearance, we should then find our 
fine gentlemen conforming to theirs. A beau might 
be introduced to a lady of fashion with a fiddle-case 
hanging at his neck by a red riband ; and, instead of 
a cane, might carry a fiddle-stick. Though to be as 
dull as a first-rate dancing-master might be used 
with proverbial justice, yet, dull as he is, many a 
fine gentleman sets him up as the proper standard 
of politeness ; copies not only the pert vivacity of 
his air, but the flat insipidity of his conversation. 
In short, if you make a law against dancing-masters' 
imitating the fine gentleman, you should, with as 
much reason, enact that no fine gentleman shall im- 
itate the dancing-master." 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 81 



FROM THE SAME. 
The Character of an Important Trifler. 

Though naturally pensive, yet I am fond of gay 
company, and take every opportunity of thus dis- 
missing the mind from duty. From this motive I 
am often found in the centre of a crowd ; and, wher- 
ever pleasure is to be sold, am always a purchaser. 
In those places, without being remarked by any, I 
join in whatever goes forward; work my passion 
into a similitude of frivolous earnestness ; shout as 
they shout ; and condemn as they happen to disap- 
prove. A mind thus sunk for a while below its nat- 
ural standard is qualified for stronger flights, as those 
first retire who would spring forward with greater 
vigour. 

Attracted by the serenity of the evening, my friend 
and I lately went to gaze upon the company in one 
of the public walks near the city. Here we saun- 
tered together for some time, either praising the 
beauty of such as were handsome, or the dresses of 
such as had nothing else to recommend them. We 
had gone thus deliberately forward for some time, 
when, stopping on a sudden, my friend caught me 
by the elbow and led me out of the public walk. I 
could perceive by the quickness of his pace, and by 
his frequently looking behind, that he was attempt- 
ing to avoid somebody who followed. We now turn- 
ed to the right, then to the left : as we went forward, 
he still went faster, yet in vain : the person whom 
he attempted to escape hunted us through every 
doubling, and gained upon us each moment ; so that, 
at last, we fairly stood still, resolving to face what 
we could not avoid. 

Our pursuer soon came up, and joined us with all 
the familiarity of an old acquaintance. " My dear 
Drybone," cries he, shaking my friend's hand, 



82 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

" where have you been hiding this half a century ? 
Positively I had fancied you were gone down to cul- 
tivate matrimony and your estate in the country." 
During the reply, I had an opportunity of surveying 
the appearance of our new companion : his hat was 
pinched up with peculiar smartness ; his looks were 
pale, thin, and sharp ; round his neck he wore a 
broad black riband, and in his bosom a buckle stud- 
ded with glass ; his coat was trimmed with tarnish- 
ed twist ; he wore by his side a sword with a black 
hilt ; and his stockings of silk, though newly wash- 
ed, were grown yellow by long service. I was so 
much engaged with the peculiarity of his dress, that 
I attended only to the latter part of my friend's re- 
ply, in which he complimented Mr. Tibbs on the 
taste of his clothes and the bloom in his counte- 
nance. " Pshaw, pshaw, Will," cried the figure, " no 
more of that, if you love me ; you know I hate flat- 
tery, on my soul I do ; and yet, to be sure, an inti- 
macy with the great will improve one's appearance, 
and a course of venison will fatten ; and yet, faith, 
I despise the great as much as you do ; but there 
are a great many very honest fellows among them ; 
and we must not quarrel with one half because the 
other wants weeding. If they were all such as my 
Lord Muddler, one of the most good-natured crea- 
tures that ever squeezed a lemon, I should myself 
be among the number of their admirers. I was yes- 
terday to dine at the Duchess of Piccadilly's ; my 
lord was there. ' Ned,' says he to me, ' Ned,' says 
he, ' I will hold gold to silver I can tell where you were 
poaching last night.' ' Poaching, my lord,' says I ; 
' faith, you have missed already ; for 1 stayed at home 
and let the girls poach for me, that's my way ; I 
take a fine woman as some animals do their prey ; 
stand still, and, swoop, they fall into my mouth.' " 

" Ah, Tibbs, thou art a happy fellow," cried my 
companion, with looks of infinite pity ; " I hope your 
fortune is as much improved as your understanding 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 83 

In such company % " Improved !" replied the other, 
" you shall know — but let it go no farther — a great 
secret — five hundred a year to begin with — my lord's 
word of honour for it. His lordship took me down in 
his own chariot yesterday, and we had a tete-a-tete 
dinner in the country, where we talked of nothing 
else." " I fancy you forget, sir," cried I ; " you told 
us but this moment of your dining yesterday in 
town." " Did I say so V replied he, coolly ; " to be 
sure, if I said so, it was so. Dined in town ! egad, 
now I do remember I did dine in town ; but I dined 
in the country too ; for you must know, my boys, I 
eat two dinners. By-the-by, I am grown as nice 
as the devil in my eating. I'll tell you a pleasant af- 
fair about that : we were a select party of us to dine 
at Lady Grogram's, an affected piece ; but let it go 
no farther — a secret ; well, there happened to-be no 
asafoetida in the sauce to a turkey ; upon which, says 
I, I'll hold a thousand guineas, and say done first, 
that — but, dear Drybone, you are an honest crea- 
ture ; lend me half a crown for a minute or two, or 
so, just till — but, harkee, ask me for it the next time 
we meet, or it may be twenty to one but I forget to 
pay you." 

When he left us, our conversation naturally turn- 
ed upon so extraordinary a character. " His very 
dress," cries my friend, " is not less extraordinary 
than his conduct. If you meet him this day, you 
find him in rags ; if the next, in embroidery. With 
those persons of distinction of whom he talks so fa- 
miliarly, he has scarcely a coffee-house acquaint- 
ance. However, both for the interest of society and 
perhaps for his own, Heaven has made him poor ; 
and, while all the world perceive his wants, he fan- 
cies them concealed from every eye. An agreeable 
companion, because he understands flattery ; and all 
must be pleased with the first part of his conversa- 
tion, though all are sure of its ending with a demand 
on their purse. While his youth countenances the 



84 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

levity of his conduct, he may thus earn a precarious 
subsistence ; but when age comes on, the gravity of 
which is incompatible with buffoonery, then will he 
find himself forsaken by all : condemned, in the de- 
cline of life, to hang upon some rich family whom 
he once despised, there to undergo all the ingenuity 
of studied contempt ; to be employed only as a spy 
upon the servants, or a bugbear to frighten the chil- 
dren into obedience." 



TO THE SAME. 



His Character continued, with that of his Wife, his House, and 

Furniture. 

I am apt to fancy I have contracted a new acquaint- 
ance, whom it will be no easy matter to shake off. 
My little beau yesterday overtook me again in one 
of the public walks, and, slapping me on the shoul- 
der, saluted me with an air of the most perfect fa- 
miliarity. His dress was the same as usual, except 
that he had more powder in his hair, wore a dirtier 
shirt, a pair of temple spectacles, and his hat under 
his arm. As I knew him to be a harmless, amusing 
little being, I could not return his smiles with any 
degree of severity ; so we walked forward, on terms 
of the utmost intimacy, and in a few minutes dis- 
cussed all the usual topics preliminary to particular 
conversation. 

The oddities that marked his character, however, 
soon began to appear; he bowed to several well- 
dressed persons, who, by their manner of returning 
the compliment, appeared perfect strangers. At in- 
tervals he drew out a pocket-book, seeming to take 
memorandums before all the company, with much 
importance and assiduity. In this manner he led 
me through the length of the whole walk, fretting at 
his absurdities, and fancying myself laughed at, no 
less than him, by every spectator. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 85 

When we were got to the end of our procession, 
" Blast me !" cries he, with an air of vivacity, " I 
never saw the Park so thin in my life before ; there's 
no company at all to-day. Not a single face to be 
seen." " No company," interrupted I, peevishly ; 
" no company where there is such a crowd ! Why, 
man, there's too much. What are the thousands 
that have been laughing at us but company]" 
" Lard, my dear," returned he, with the utmost good- 
humour, " you seem immensely chagrined ; but, 
blast me, when the world laughs at me, I laugh at 
the world, and so we are even. My Lord Trip, Bill 
Squash the Creolian, and I, sometimes make a party 
at being ridiculous ; and so we say and do a thou- 
sand things for the joke's sake. But I see you are 
grave, and if you are for a fine, grave, sentimental 
companion, you shall dine with me and my wife to- 
day ; I must insist on't ; I'll introduce you to Mrs. 
Tibbs, a lady of as elegant qualifications as any in 
nature ; she was bred — but that's between ourselves 
— under the inspection of the Countess of Allnight. 
A charming body of voice — but no more of that ; she 
will give us a song. You shall see my little girl, 
too, Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Tibbs, a sweet, 
pretty creature ; I design her for my Lord Drum- 
stick's eldest son — but that's in friendship — let it go 
no farther ; she's but six years old, and yet she 
walks a minuet, and plays on the guitar immensely 
already ; I intend she shall be as perfect as possible 
in every accomplishment. In the first place, I will 
make her a scholar : I will teach her Greek myself, 
and learn that language purposely to instruct her — 
but let that be a secret." 

Thus saying, without waiting for a reply, he took 
me by the arm and hauled me along. We passed 
through many dark alleys and winding ways ; for, 
from some motives to me unknown, he seemed to 
have a particular aversion to every frequented street : 
at last, however, we got to the door of a dismal- 

Vol. II.— H 



86 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

looking house in the outlets of the town, where he 
informed me he chose to reside for the benefit of 
the air. 

We entered the lower door, which ever seemed to 
lie most hospitably open ; and I began to ascend an 
old and creaking staircase, when, as he mounted to 
show me the way, he demanded whether I delighted 
in prospects ; to which, answering in the affirmative, 
" Then," says he, " I shall show you one of the most 
charming in the world out of my window : we shall 
see the ships sailing, and the whole country for 
twenty miles round, tip top, quite high. My Lord 
Swamp would give ten thousand guineas for such a 
one ; but, as I sometimes pleasantly tell him, I al- 
ways love to keep my prospects at home, that my 
friends may visit me the oftener." 

By this time we were arrived as high as the stairs 
would permit us to ascend, till we came to what he 
was facetiously pleased to call the first floor down 
the chimney ; and, knocking at the door, a voice 
from within demanded " Who's there V My con- 
ductor answered that it was him. But this not sat- 
isfying the querist, the voice again repeated the de- 
mand ; to which he answered louder than before ; 
and now the door was opened by an old woman with 
cautious reluctance. 

When we were got in he welcomed me to his 
house with great ceremony ; and, turning to the old 
woman, asked where was her lady. " Good troth," 
replied she, in a peculiar dialect, " she's washing 
your twa shirts at the next door, because they have 
taken an oath against lending out the tub any longer." 
" My two shirts," cried he, in a tone that faltered 
with confusion, " what does the idiot mean 1 ?" "I 
ken what I mean well enough," replied the other ; 
" she's washing your twa shirts at the next door, 
because — " " Fire and fury, no more of thy stupid 
explanations !" cried he ; " go and inform her we have 
got company. Were that Scotch hag to be for ever 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 87 

in my family, she would never learn politeness, nor 
forget that absurd, poisonous accent of hers, or tes- 
tify the smallest specimen of breeding or high life ; 
and yet it is very surprising too, as I had her from 
a parliament man, a friend of mine from the High- 
lands, one of the politest men in the world— but 
that's a secret." 

We waited some time for Mrs. Tibbs's arrival, 
during which interval I had a full opportunity of 
surveying the chamber and all its furniture, which 
consisted of four chairs with old wrought bottoms, 
which he assured me were his wife's embroidery ; a 
square table that had been once japanned ; a cradle 
in one corner, a lumbering cabinet in the other ; a 
broken shepherdess, and a mandarine without a head, 
were stuck over the chimney'; and round the walls 
hung several paltry, unframed pictures, which he ob- 
served were all his own drawing. "What do you 
think, sir, of that head in the corner, done in the man- 
ner of Grisoni ! There's the true keeping in it ; it is 
my own face, and, though there happens to be no like- 
ness, a countess offered me a hundred for its fellow ; 
I refused her, for. hang it, that would be mechani- 
cal, you know." 

The wife at last made her appearance, at once a 
slattern and a coquette ; much emaciated, but still 
carrying the remains of beauty. She made twenty 
apologies for being seen in such an odious dishabille, 
but hoped to be excused, as she had stayed out all 
night at the gardens with the countess, who was ex- 
cessively fond of the horns. "And, indeed, my 
dear," added she, turning to her husband, " his lord- 
ship drank your health in a bumper." " Poor Jack," 
cries he, " a dear, good-natured creature, I know he 
loves me— but I hope, my dear, you have given or- 
ders for dinner ; you need make no great prepara- 
tions, neither; there are but three of us; something 
elegant and little will do— a turbot, or ortolan, or a—" 
" Or what do you think, my dear," interrupts the 



88 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

wife, " of a nice, pretty bit of ox-cheek, piping hot, 
and dressed with a little of my sauce ?" " The very 
thing," replies he ; " it will eat best with some smart 
bottled beer ; but be sure to let's have the sauce his 
grace was so fond of. I hate your immense loads 
of meat ; that is country all over ; extremely disgust- 
ing to those who are in the least acquainted with 
high life." 

By this time my curiosity began to abate and my 
appetite to increase ; the company of fools may at 
first make us smile, but at last never fails of render- 
ing us melancholy. I therefore pretended to rec- 
ollect a prior engagement, and, after having shown 
my respect to the house, according to the fashion of 
the English, by giving the old servant a piece of 
money at the door, I took my leave ; Mr. Tibbs as- 
suring me that dinner, if I stayed, would be ready at 
least in less than two hours. 



PROM THE SAME. 

The Difficulty of Rising in Literary Reputation without In- 
trigue or Riches. 

I have frequently admired the manner of critici- 
sing in China, where the learned are assembled in a 
body to judge of every new publication ; to examine 
the merits of the work without knowing the circum- 
stances of the author, and then to usher it into the 
world with proper remarks of respect or approbation. 

In England there are no such tribunals erected ; 
but if a man thinks proper to be a judge of genius, 
few will be at the pains to contradict his pretensions. 
If any choose to be critics, it is but saying they are 
critics, and from that time forward they become in- 
vested with full power and authority over every cai- 
tiff who aims at their instruction or entertainment. 

As almost every member of society has by this 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 89 

means a vote in literary transactions, it is no way 
surprising to find the rich leading the way here as 
in other common concerns in life ; to see them either 
bribing the numerous herd of voters by their inter- 
ests, or browbeating them by their authority. 

A great man says at his table that such a book 
is no bad thing. Immediately the praise is carried 
off by five flatterers, to be dispersed at twelve differ- 
ent coffee-houses, from whence it circulates, still 
improving as it proceeds, through forty-five houses 
where cheaper liquors are sold ; from thence it is 
carried away by the honest tradesman to his own 
fireside, where the applause is eagerly caught up by 
his wife and children, who have long been taught to 
regard his judgment as the standard of perfection. 
Thus, when we have traced a wide-extended literary 
reputation up to its original source, we shall find it 
derived from some great man, who has, perhaps, re- 
ceived all his education and English from a tutor of 
Berne or a dancing-master of Picardy. 

The English are a people of good sense, and I 
am the more surprised to find them swayed in their 
opinions by men who often, from their very educa- 
tion, are incompetent judges. Men who, being al- 
ways bred in affluence, see the world only on one 
side, are surely improper judges of human nature : 
they may indeed describe a ceremony, a pageant, or 
a ball ; but how can they pretend to dive into the 
secrets of the human heart, who have been nursed 
up only in forms, and daily behold nothing but the 
same insipid adulation smiling upon every face! 
Few of them have been bred in the best of schools, 
the school of adversity ; and, by what I can learn, 
fewer still have been bred in any school at all. 

From such a description, one would think that a 
droning duke or a dowager duchess was not pos- 
sessed of more just pretensions to taste than per- 
sons of less quality ; and yet, whatever the one or 
the other may write or praise, shall pass for perfection 

H2 



90 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

without farther examination. A nobleman has but 
to take a pen, ink, and paper, and write away through 
three large volumes, and then sign his name to the 
title-page ; though the whole might have been be- 
fore more disgusting than his own rent-roll, yet 
signing his name and title gives value to the deed ; 
title being alone equivalent to taste, imagination, and 
genius. 

As soon as a piece, therefore, is published, the first 
questions are, Who is the author? Does he keep a 
coach ? Where lies his estate ? What sort of a table 
does he keep ? If he happens to be poor, and un- 
qualified for such a scrutiny, he and his works sink 
into irremediable obscurity, and too late he finds that 
having fed upon turtle is a more ready way to fame 
than having digested Tully. 

The poor devil against whom fashion has set its 
face vainly alleges that he has been bred in every 
part of Europe where knowledge was to be sold; 
that he has grown pale in the study of nature and 
himself: his works may please upon the perusal, but 
his pretensions to fame are entirely disregarded : he 
is treated like a fiddler, whose music, though liked, 
is not much praised, because he lives by it ; while a 
gentleman performer, though the most wretched 
scraper alive, throws the audience into raptures. 
The fiddler, indeed, may, in such a case, console him- 
self by thinking that, while the other goes oif with 
the praise, he runs away with all the money : but 
here the parallel drops ; for, while the nobleman tri- 
umphs in unmerited applause, the author by profes- 
sion steals off with — nothing. 

The poor, therefore, here, who draw their pens 
auxiliary to the laws of their country, must think 
themselves very happy if they find, not fame, but 
forgiveness ; and yet they are hardly treated ; for, as 
every country grows more polite, the press becomes 
more useful, and writers become more necessary 
as readers are supposed to increase. In a polished 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 91 

society, that man, though in rags, who has the power 
of enforcing virtue from the press, is of more real 
use than forty stupid brachmans, or bonzes, or gue- 
bres, though they preached never so often, never so 
loud, or never so long. That man, though in rags, 
who is capable of deceiving even indolence into 
wisdom, and who professes amusement while he 
aims at reformation, is more useful in refined society 
than twenty cardinals with their scarlet, and tricked 
out in all the fopperies of scholastic finery. 



TO THE SAME. 

A Visitation Dinner Described. 

As the man in black takes every opportunity of 
introducing me to such company as may serve to 
indulge my speculative temper or gratify my curi- 
osity, I was, by his influence, lately invited to a vis- 
itation dinner. To understand this term, you must 
know that it was formerly the custom here for the 
principal priests to go about the country once a year, 
and examine upon the spot whether those of subordi- 
nate orders did their duty or were qualified for the 
task ; whether their temples were kept in proper re- 
pair, or the laity pleased with their administration. 

Though a visitation of this nature was very use- 
ful, yet it was found to be extremely troublesome, 
and for many reasons utterly inconvenient ; for, as 
the principal priests were obliged to attend at court, 
in order to solicit preferment, it was impossible they 
could at the same time attend in the country, which 
was quite out of the road to promotion : if we add 
to this the gout, which has been, time immemorial, 
a clerical disorder here, together with the bad wine 
and ill-dressed provisions that must infallibly be 
served up by the way, it was not strange that the 
custom has been long discontinued. At present, 



92 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

therefore, every head of the church, instead of going 
about to visit his priests, is satisfied if his priests 
come in a body once a year to visit him ; by this 
means the duty of half a year is despatched in a day. 
"When assembled, he asks each in his turn how they 
have behaved and are liked ; upon which those who 
have neglected their duty, or are disagreeable to 
their congregation, no doubt accuse themselves, and 
tell him all their faults, for which he reprimands 
them most severely. 

The thoughts of being introduced into a company 
of philosophers and learned men — for as such I con- 
ceived them — gave me no small pleasure ; I expected 
our entertainment would resemble those sentimental 
banquets so finely described by Xenophon and Pla- 
to ; I was hoping some Socrates would be brought 
in from the door, in order to harangue upon divine 
love ; but as for eating and drinking, I had prepared 
myself to be disappointed in that particular. I was 
apprized that fasting and temperance were tenets 
strongly recommended to the professors of Chris- 
tianity, and I had seen the frugality and mortifica- 
tion of the priests of the East ; so that I expected an 
entertainment where we should have much reason- 
ing and little meat. 

Upon being introduced, I confess I found no great 
signs of mortification in the faces or persons of the 
company. However, I imputed their florid looks 
to temperance, and their corpulence to a sedentary 
way of living. I saw several preparations, indeed, 
for dinner, but none for philosophy. The company 
seemed to gaze upon the table with silent expecta- 
tion; but this I easily excused- Men of wisdom, 
thought I, are ever slow of speech ; they deliver no- 
thing unadvisedly. " Silence," says Confucius, " is 
a friend that will never betray." They are now 
probably inventing maxims or hard sayings for their 
mutual instruction, when some one shall think prop- 
er to begin. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 93 

My curiosity was now wrought up to the highest 
pitch ; I impatiently looked round to see if any were 
going to interrupt the mighty pause ; when, at last, 
one of the company declared that there was a sow 
in his neighbourhood that farrowed fifteen pigs at a 
litter. This I thought a very preposterous begin- 
ning; but, just as another was going to second the 
remark, dinner was served, which interrupted the 
conversation for that time. 

The appearance of dinner, which consisted of a 
variety of dishes, seemed to diffuse new cheerful- 
ness upon every face ; so that I now expected the 
philosophical conversation to begin as they im- 
proved in good-humour. The principal priest, how- 
ever, opened his mouth with only observing that the 
venison had not been kept enough, though he had 
given strict orders for having it killed ten days be- 
fore. " I fear," continued he, " it will be found to 
want the true heathy flavour ; you will find nothing 
of the original wildness in it." A priest who sat 
next him, having smelled it and wiped his nose, " Ah, 
my good lord," cries he, " you are too modest ; it is 
perfectly fine ; everybody knows that nobody under- 
stands keeping venison with your lordship." " Ay, 
and partridges too," interrupted another ; " I never 
find them right anywhere else." His lordship was 
going to reply, when a third took off the attention 
of the company by recommending the pig as inim- 
itable. " I fancy, my lord," continued he, " it has 
been smothered in its own blood." " If it has been 
smothered in its own blood," cried a facetious mem- 
ber, helping himself, " we'll now smother it in egg 
sauce." This poignant piece of humour produced a 
loud laugh, which the facetious brother observing, 
and, now that he was in luck, willing to second his 
blow, assured the company he would tell them a 
good story about that ; " as good a story," cries he, 
bursting into a violent fit of laughter himself, " as 
ever you heard in your lives. There was a farmer 



94 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

in my parish who used to sup upon wild ducks and 
flummery ; so this farmer — " " Dr. Marrowfat,' 1 
cries his lordship, interrupting him, " give me leave 
to drink your health. " "So, being fond of wild ducks 
and flummery — " " Doctor," adds a gentleman who 
sat next him, "let me advise you to a wing of this 
turkey." " So this farmer, being fond — " " Hob 
nob, doctor, which do you choose, white or red V 
" So, being fond of wild ducks and flummery — " 
" Take care of your hand, sir, it may dip in the gra- 
vy." The doctor, now looking round, found not a 
single eye disposed to listen ; wherefore, calling for 
a glass of wine, he gulped down the disappointment 
and the tale in a bumper. 

The conversation now began to be little more than 
a rhapsody of exclamations ; as each had pretty well 
satisfied his own appetite, he now found sufficient 
time to press others. " Excellent ! the very thing ! 
let me recommend the pig ! do but taste the bacon ! 
never ate a better thing in my life ! exquisite ! deli- 
cious !" This edifying discourse continued through 
three courses, which lasted as many hours, till every 
one of the company were unable to swallow or utter 
anything more. 

It is very natural for men who are abridged in one 
excess to break into some other. The clergy here, 
particularly those who are advanced in years, think, 
if they are abstemious with regard to women and 
wine, they may indulge their other appetites without 
censure. Thus some are found to rise in the morn- 
ing only to a consultation with their cook about din- 
ner, and, when that has been swallowed, make no 
other use of their faculties (if they have any) but to 
ruminate on the succeeding meal. 

A debauch in wine is even more pardonable than 
this, since one glass insensibly leads on to another, 
and, instead of sating, whets the appetite. The pro- 
gressive steps to it are cheerful and seducing ; and 
there is even classic authority to countenance the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 95 

excess. But m eating, after nature is once satisfied, 
every additional morsel brings stupidity and distem- 
pers with it, and, as one of their own poets express- 
es it, 

" The soul subsides, and wickedly inclines. 
To seem but mortal, even in sound divines." 

Let me suppose, after such a meal as this I have 
been describing, while all the company are sitting in 
lethargic silence round the table, groaning under a 
load of soup, pig, pork, and bacon — let me suppose, I 
say, some hungry beggar, with looks of want, peep- 
ing through one of the windows and thus addressing 
the assembly. " Prithee pluck those napkins from 
your chins ; after nature is satisfied, all that you eat 
extraordinary is my property, and I claim it as mine. 
It was given you in order to relieve me, and not to 
oppress yourselves. How can they comfort and in- 
struct others, who can scarce feel their own exist- 
ence except from the unsavoury returns of an ill- 
digested meaU But, though neither you nor the 
cushions you sit upon will hear me, yet the world 
regards the excesses of its teachers with a paying 
eye, and notes their conduct with double severity." 
I know no other answer any one of the company 
could make to such an expostulation but this : 
" Friend, you talk of our losing a character and being 
disliked by the world ; well, and supposing all this to 
be true, what then ] who cares for the world? "We'll 
preach for the world, and the world shall pay us for 
preaching, whether we like each other or not." 



FROM HINGPO, TO LIEN CHI ALTANGI, BY THE WAY OF 

MOSCOW. ' 

The Chinese Philosopher's Son escapes with the Beautiful 
Captive from Slavery. 

You will probably be pleased to see my letter 
dated from Terki, a city which lies beyond the 



96 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

bounds of the Persian empire ; here, blessed with 
security, with all that is dear, I double my raptures 
by communicating them to you ; the mind sympa- 
thizing with the freedom of the body, my whole soul 
is dilated in gratitude, love, and praise. 

Yet, were my own happiness all that inspired my 
present joy, my raptures might justly merit the im- 
putation of self-interest ; but when I think that the 
beautiful Zelis is also free, forgive my triumph when 
I boast of having rescued from captivity the most 
deserving object upon earth. 

You remember the reluctance she testified at 
being obliged to marry the tyrant she hated. Her 
compliance at last was only feigned, in order to gain 
time to try some future means of escape. During 
the interval between her promise and the intended 
performance of it, she came, undiscovered, one even- 
ing, to the place where I generally retired after the 
fatigues of»the day ; her appearance was like that 
of an aerial genius when it descends to minister com- 
fort to undeserved distress ; the mild lustre of her 
eye served to banish my timidity ; her accents were 
sweeter than the echo of some distant symphony. 
" Unhappy stranger," said she, in the Persian lan- 
guage, " you here perceive one more wretched than 
thyself; all this solemnity of preparation, this ele- 
gance of dress, and the number of my attendants, 
serve but to increase my miseries ; if you have 
courage to rescue an unhappy woman from ap- 
proaching ruin and our detested tyrant, you may de- 
pend upon my gratitude." I bowed to the ground, 
and she left me filled with rapture and astonishment. 
Night brought me no rest ; nor could the ensuing 
morning calm the anxieties of my mind. I project- 
ed a thousand methods for her delivery ; but each, 
when strictly examined, appeared impracticable. In 
this uncertainty the evening again arrived, and I 
placed myself on my former station in hopes of a 
repeated visit. After some short expectation, the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 97 

bright perfection again appeared : I bowed, as before, 
to the ground ; when, raising me up, she observed 
that the time was not to be spent in useless cere- 
mony ; she observed that the day following was ap- 
pointed for the celebration of her nuptials, and that 
something was to be done that very night for our 
mutual deliverance. I offered, with the utmost hu- 
mility, to pursue whatever scheme she should di- 
rect ; upon which she proposed that instant to scale 
the garden wall ; adding, that she had prevailed upon 
a female slave, who was now waiting at the appoint- 
ed place, to assist her with a ladder. 

Pursuant to this information, I led her, trembling, 
to the place appointed ; but, instead of the slave we 
expected to see, Mostadad himself was there await- 
ing our arrival ; the wretch in whom we confided, it 
seems, had betrayed our design to her master, and 
he now saw the most convincing proofs of her in- 
formation. He was just going to draw his sabre, 
when a principle of avarice repressed his fury, and 
he resolved, after a severe chastisement, to dispose 
of me to another master ; in the mean time, he order- 
ed me to be confined in the strictest manner, and next 
day to receive a hundred blows on the soles of mv 
feet. J 

When the morning came, I was led out in order to 
receive the punishment, which, from the severity 
with which it is generally inflicted upon slaves, is 
worse even than death. 

A trumpet was to be a signal for the solemniza- 
tion of the nuptials of Zelis, and for the infliction of 
my punishment. Each ceremony, to me equally 
dreadful, was just going to begin, when we were in- 
formed that a large party of Circassian Tartars had 
invaded the town, and were laying all in ruin. Ev- 
ery person now thought of only saving himself ; I 
instantly unloosed the cords with which I was bound, 
and, seizing a cimeter from one of the slaves, who 
had not courage to resist me, flew to the women's 

Vol. II. — I 



98 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

apartment, where Zelis was confined, dressed out 
for the intended nuptials. I bade her follow me 
without delay; and, going forward, cut my way 
through the eunuchs, who made but a faint resist- 
ance. The whole city was now a scene of confla- 
gration and terror ; every person was willing to 
save himself, unmindful of others. In this confu- 
sion, seizing upon two of the fleetest coursers in the 
stables of Mostadad, we fled northward, towards the 
kingdom of Circassia. As there were several others 
flying in the same manner, we passed without no- 
tice, and in three days arrived at Terki, a city that 
lies in a valley within the bosom of the frowning 
mountains of Caucasus. 

Here, free from every apprehension of danger, we 
enjoy all those satisfactions which are consistent 
with virtue ; though I find my heart, at intervals, 
give way to unusual passions, yet such is my admi- 
ration for my fair companion, that I lose even ten- 
derness in distant respect. Though her person de- 
mands particular regard, even among the beauties of 
Circassia, yet is her mind far more lovely. How 
very different is a woman who thus has cultivated 
her understanding, and been refined into delicacy of 
sentiment, from the daughters of the East, whose 
education is only formed to improve the person, and 
make them more tempting objects of prostitution ! 
Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI A.LTANGI TO HINGPO. 

Proper Lessons to a Youth entering the World, with Fables 
suited to the Occasion. 

The news of your freedom lifts the load of former 
anxiety from my mind ; I can now think of my son 
without regret, applaud his resignation under calam- 
ity, and his conduct in extricating himself from it. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 99 

You are now free, just let loose from the bondage 
of a hard master ; this is the crisis of your fate ; and, 
as you now manage Fortune, succeeding life will be 
marked with happiness or misery ; a few years' per- 
severance in prudence, which at your age is but an- 
other name for virtue, will ensure comfort, pleasure, 
tranquillity, esteem ; too eager an enjoyment of ev- 
ery good that now offers will reverse the medal, and 
present you poverty, anxiety, remorse, and con- 
tempt. 

As it has been observed that none are better qual- 
ified to give others advice than those who have ta- 
ken the least of it themselves, so in this respect I 
find myself perfectly authorized to offer mine, even 
though I should wave my paternal authority upon 
this occasion. 

The most usual way among young men who have 
no resolution of their own, is first to ask one friend's 
advice, and follow it for some time ; then to ask ad- 
vice of another, and turn to that \ so of a third, still 
unsteady, always changing. However, be assured 
that every change of this nature is for the worse ; 
people may tell you of your being unfit for some pe- 
culiar occupations in life, but heed them not ; what- 
ever employment you follow with perseverance and 
assiduity will be found fit for you ; it will be your 
support in youth and comfort in age. In learning 
the useful part of every profession, very moderate 
abilities will suffice ; even if the mind be a little bal- 
anced with stupidity, it may in this case be useful. 
Great abilities have always been less serviceable to 
the possessors than moderate ones. Life has been 
compared to a race, but the allusion still improves 
by observing that the most swift are ever the least 
manageable. 

To know one profession only is enough for one 
man to know; and this (whatever the professors 
may tell you to the contrary) is soon learned. Be 
contented, therefore, with one good employment; 



100 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

for, if you understand two at a time, people will give 
you business in neither. 

A conjuror and a tailor once happened to converse 
together : " Alas !" cries the tailor, " what an un- 
happy, poor creature am I : if people should ever 
take it in their heads to live without clothes, I am 
undone ; I have no other trade to have recourse to." 
"Indeed, friend, I pity you sincerely," replied the 
conjuror ; " but, thank Heaven, things are not quite 
so bad with me ; for, if one trick should fail, I have 
a hundred tricks more for them yet. However, if 
at any time you are reduced to beggary, apply to me, 
and I will relieve you." A famine overspread the 
land : the tailor made shift to live, because his cus- 
tomers could not be without clothes ; but the poor 
conjuror, with all his hundred tricks, could find none 
that had money to throw away. It was in vain that 
he promised to eat fire or to vomit pins : no single 
creature would relieve him, till at last he was obliged 
to beg from the very tailor whose calling he had 
formerly despised. 

There are no obstructions more fatal to fortune 
than pride and resentment. If you must resent in- 
juries at all, at least suppress your indignation until 
you become rich, and then show away : the resent- 
ment of a poor man is like the efforts of a harmless 
insect to sting : it may get him crushed, but cannot 
defend him. Who values that anger which is con- 
sumed only in empty menaces \ 

Once upon a time, a goose fed its young by a pond 
side ; and a goose, in such circumstances, is always 
extremely proud and excessively punctilious. If 
any other animal, without the least design to offend, 
happened to pass that way, the goose was imme- 
diately at him ; the pond, she said, was hers, and 
she would maintain a right in it and support her hon- 
our while she had a bill to hiss or a wing to flutter. 
In this maimer she drove away ducks, pigs, and 
chickens ; nay, even the insidious cat was seen to 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 101 

scamper. A lounging mastiff, however, happened to 
pass by, and thought it no harm if he should lap a 
little of the water, as he was thirsty. The guardian 
goose flew at him like a fury, pecked at him with her 
head, and flapped him with her feathers. The dog 
grew angry, had twenty times a good mind, to give 
her a sly snap ; but, suppressing his indignation be- 
cause his master was nigh, " A pox take thee," cries 
he, " for a fool ; sure those who have neither strength 
nor weapons to fight, at least should be civil ; that 
fluttering and hissing of thine may one day get thine 
head snapped off, but it can neither injure thy ene- 
mies, nor ever protect thee." So saying, he went 
forward to the pond, quenched his thirst in spite of 
the goose, and followed his master. 

Another obstruction to the fortune of youth is, 
that, while they are willing to take offence from none, 
they are also equally desirous of giving none offence. 
From hence they endeavour to please all, comply 
with every request, attempt to suit themselves to 
every company ; have no will of their own, but, like 
wax, catch every contiguous impression. By thus 
attempting to give universal satisfaction, they at last 
find themselves miserably disappointed ; to bring the 
generality of admirers on our side, it is sufficient to 
attempt pleasing a very few. 

A painter of eminence was once resolved to finish 
a piece which should please the whole world. When, 
therefore, he had drawn a picture in which his ut- 
most skill was exhausted, it was exposed in the pub- 
lic market-place, with directions at the bottom for 
every spectator to mark with a brush which lay by, 
every limb and feature which seemed erroneous. 
The spectators came, and, in general, applauded ; but 
each, willing to show his talent at criticism, marked 
whatever he thought proper. At evening, when the 
painter came, he was mortified to find the whole 
picture one universal blot ; not a single stroke that 
was not stigmatized with marks of disapprobation. 

12 



102 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

Not satisfied with this trial, the next day he was re- 
solved to try them in a different manner ; and, ex- 
posing his picture as before, desired that every spec- 
tator would mark those beauties he approved or ad- 
mired. The people complied ; and the artist, return- 
ing, found his picture replete with marks of beauty ; 
every stroke that had been yesterday condemned, 
now received the character of approbation. " Well," 
cries the painter, " I now find that the best way to 
please one half of the world is not to mind what 
the other half says : since what are faults in the 
eyes of these, shall be by those regarded as beau- 
ties." Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESI- 
DENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN 
CHINA. 

The Great exchange Happiness for Show. — Their Folly in this 
respect of use to Society. 

The princes of Europe have found out a manner 
of rewarding their subjects who have behaved well, 
by presenting them with about two yards of blue 
riband, which is worn about the shoulder. They 
who are honoured with this mark of distinction are 
called knights, and the king himself is always the 
head of the order. This is a very frugal method of 
recompensing the most important services ; and it is 
very fortunate for kings that their subjects are sat- 
isfied with such trifling rewards. Should a noble- 
man happen to lose his leg in battle, the king pre- 
sents him with two yards of riband, and he is paid 
for the loss of his limb. Should an ambassador 
spend all his paternal fortune in supporting the hon- 
our of his country abroad, the king presents him 
with two yards of riband, which is to be considered 
as an equivalent to his estate. In short, while a 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 103 

European king has a yard of blue or green riband 
left, he need be under no apprehensions of wanting 
statesmen, generals, and soldiers. 

I cannot sufficiently admire those kingdoms in 
which men with large patrimonial estates are will- 
ing thus to undergo real hardships for empty fa- 
vours. A person already possessed of a competent 
fortune, who undertakes to enter the career of am- 
bition, feels many real inconveniences from his sta- 
tion, while it procures him no real happiness that 
he was not possessed of before. He could eat, 
drink, and sleep, before he became a courtier, as 
well, perhaps better, than when invested with his 
authority. He could command flatterers in a private 
station as well as in his public capacity, and indulge 
at home every favourite inclination, uncensured and 
unseen by the people. 

What real good, then, does an addition to a for- 
tune already sufficient procure ? Not any. Could 
the great man, by having his fortune increased, in- 
crease also his appetites, then precedence might be 
attended with real amusement. 

Was he, by having his one thousand made two, 
thus enabled to enjoy two wives or eat two dinners, 
then, indeed, he might be excused for undergoing 
some pain in order to extend the sphere of his en- 
joyments. But, on the contrary, he finds his desire 
for pleasure often lessen as he takes pains to be 
able to improve it ; and his capacity of enjoyment 
diminishes as his fortune happens to increase. 

Instead, therefore, of regarding the great with en- 
vy, I generally consider them with some share of 
compassion. I look upon them as a set of good-na- 
tured, misguided people, who are indebted to us, and 
not to themselves, for all the happiness they enjoy. 
For our pleasure, and not their own, they sweat un- 
der a cumbrous heap of finery : for our pleasure the 
lackeyed train, the slow, parading pageant, with all 
the gravity of grandeur, moves in review : a single 



104 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

coat or a single footman answers all the purposes 
of the most indolent refinement as well ; and those 
who have twenty may be said to keep one for their 
own pleasure, and the other nineteen merely for 
ours. So true is the observation of Confucius, that 
" we take greater pains to persuade others that we 
are happy, than in endeavouring to think so our- 
selves." 

But, though this desire of being seen, of being 
made the subject of discourse, and of supporting the 
dignities of an exalted station, be troublesome enough 
to the ambitious, yet it is well for society that there 
are men thus willing to exchange ease and safety 
for danger and a riband. We lose nothing by their 
vanity, and it would be unkind to endeavour to de- 
prive a child of its rattle. If a duke or a duchess 
are willing to carry a long train for our entertain- 
ment, so much the worse for themselves ; if they 
choose to exhibit in public with a hundred lackeys 
and mamelukes in their equipage for our entertain- 
ment, still so much the worse for themselves ; it is 
the spectators alone who give and receive the pleas- 
ure, they only the sweating figures that swell the 
pageant. 

A mandarine, who took much pride in appearing 
with a number of jewels on every part of his robe, 
was once accosted by an old, sly bonze, who follow- 
ed him through several streets, and, bowing often to 
the ground, thanked him for his jewels. "What 
does the man mean !" cries the mandarine. " Friend, 
I never gave thee any of my jewels." " No," re- 
plied the other, " but you have let me look at them, 
and that is all the use you can make of them your- 
self ; so there is no difference between us, except 
that you have the trouble of watching them, and that 
is an employment I do not much desire." Adieu. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 105 



FROM THE SAME. 

The History of a Philosophic Cobbler. 

Though not very fond of seeing a pageant myself, 
yet I am generally pleased with being in the crowd 
which sees it ; it is amusing to observe the effect 
which such a spectacle has upon the variety of fa- 
ces ; the pleasure it excites in some, the envy in 
others, and the wishes it raises in all. With this 
design I lately went to see the entry of a foreign 
ambassador, resolved to make one in the mob, to 
shout as they shouted, to fix with earnestness upon 
the same frivolous objects, and participate for a 
while in the pleasures and the wishes of the vulgar. 

Struggling here for some time, in order to be first 
to see the cavalcade as it passed, some of the crowd 
unluckily happened to tread upon my shoe, and tore 
it in such a manner that I was utterly unqualified to 
march forward with the main body, and obliged to 
fall back in the rear. Thus rendered incapable of 
being a spectator of the show myself, I was at least 
willing to observe the spectators, and limped behind 
like one of the invalids which follow the march of 
an army. 

In this plight, as I was considering the eagerness 
that appeared on every face, how some bustled to 
get foremost, and others contented themselves with 
taking a transient peep when they could ; how some 
praised the four black servants that were stuck be- 
hind one of the equipages, and some the ribands 
that decorated the horses 1 necks in another, my at- 
tention was called off to an object more extraordi- 
nary than any I h?„d yet seen. A poor cobbler sat 
in his stall by the wayside, and continued to work 
while the crowd passed b) r , without testifying the 
smallest share of curiosity. I own his want of at- 
tention aroused mine ; and, as I stood in need of his 



106 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

assistance, I thought it best to employ a philosophic 
cobbler on this occasion. Perceiving my business, 
therefore, he desired me to enter and sit down, took 
my shoe in his lap, and began to mend it with his 
usuai indifference and taciturnity. 

" How, my friend," said I to him, " can you con- 
tinue to work while all these fine things are passing 
by your door ?" " Very fine they are, master," re- 
turned the cobbler, " for those that like them, to be 
sure ; but what are all those fine things to me 1 You 
don't know what it is to be a cobbler, and so much 
the better for yourself. Your bread is baked ; you 
may go and see sights the whole day, and eat a 
warm supper when you come home at night; but 
for me, if I should run hunting after all these fine 
folk, what should I get by my journey but an appe- 
tite ; and, God help me, I have too much of that at 
home already, without stirring out for it. Your peo- 
ple who may eat four meals a day and a supper at 
night are but a bad example to such a one as I. 
No, master, as God has called me into this world to 
mend old shoes, I have no business with fine folk, 
and they have no business with me." I here inter- 
rupted him with a smile. " See this last, master,'' 
continues he, " and this hammer : that last and this 
hammer are the two best friends I have in this 
world: nobody else will be my friend, because I 
want a friend. The great folks you saw pass by 
just now have five hundred friends, because they 
have no occasion for them : now, while I stick to 
my good friends here, I am very contented ; but 
when I ever so little run after sights and fine things, 
I begin to hate my work, I grow sad, and have no 
heart to mend shoes any longer." 

This discourse only served to raise my curiosity 
to know more of a man whom nature had thus form- 
ed into a philosopher. I therefore insensibly led him 
into a history of his adventures. " I have lived," 
said he, " a wandering sort of a life now five-and- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 107 

■ 

fifty years : here to-day, and gone to-morrow ; for it 
was my misfortune, when I was young, to be fond of 
changing." " You have been a traveller, then, I pre- 
sume," interrupted I. "I cannot boast of much 
travelling," continued he, " for I have never left the 
parish in which I was born hut three times in my 
life, that I can remember ; but then there is not a 
street in the whole neighbourhood that I have not 
lived in at some time or another. When 1 began to 
settle and to take to my business in one street, some 
unforeseen misfortune, or a desire of trying my luck 
elsewhere, has removed me, perhaps, a whole mile 
away from my former customers, while some more 
lucky cobbler would come into my place, and make 
a handsome fortune among friends of my making. 
There was one who actually died in a stall that I had 
left worth seven pounds seven shillings, all in hard 
gold, which he had quilted into the waistband of his 
breeches." 

I could not but smile at these migrations of a man 
by the fireside, and continued to ask if he had ever 
been married. " Ay, that I have, master," replied 
he, " for sixteen long years ; and a weary life I had 
of it, Heaven knows. My wife took it into her head 
that the only way to thrive in this world was to 
save money ; so, though our comings in was about 
three shillings a week, all that ever she could lay 
her hands upon she used to hide away from me, 
though we were obliged to starve the whole week 
after for it. 

" The first three years we used to quarrel about this 
every day, and I always got the better ; but she had 
a hard spirit, and still continued to hide as usual ; so 
that at last I was tired of quarrelling and getting the 
better, and she scraped and scraped at pleasure, till 
I was almost starved to death. Her conduct drove 
me at last in despair to the alehouse ; here I used to 
sit with people who hated home like myself, drank 
while I had money left, and run in score when any- 



108 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

body would trust me ; till at last the landlady, com- 
ing one day with a long bill when I was from home, 
and putting it into my wife's hands, the length of it 
effectually broke her heart. I searched the whole 
stall after she was dead for money, but she had hid- 
den it so effectually, that, with all my pains, I could 
never find a farthing." 

By this time my shoe was mended ; and, satisfying 
the poor artist for his trouble, and rewarding him, 
besides, for his information, I took my leave and re- 
turned home, to lengthen out the amusement his 
conversation afforded by communicating it to my 
friend. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO HINGPO, BY THE WAY OF 

MOSCOW. 

The Folly of Attempting to learn Wisdom by being Recluse. 

Books, my son, while they teach us to respect the 
interests of others, often make us unmindful of our 
own; while they instruct the youthful reader to 
grasp at social happiness, he grows miserable in de- 
tail, and, attentive to universal harmony, often for- 
gets that he has a part to sustain in the concert. I 
dislike, therefore, the philosopher who describes the 
inconveniences of life in such pleasing colours that 
the pupil grows enamoured of distress, longs to try 
the charms of poverty, meets it without dread, nor 
fears its inconveniences till he severely feels them. 

A youth who has thus spent his life among books, 
new to the world, and unacquainted with man but 
by philosophic information, may be considered as a 
being whose mind is filled with the vulgar errors of 
the wise; utterly unqualified for a journey through 
life, yet confident of his own skill in the direction, 
he sets out with confidence, blunders on with vani- 
ty, and finds himself at last undone. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 109 

He first has learned from books, and then lays it 
down as a maxim, that all mankind are virtuous or 
vicious in excess ; and he has been long taught to 
detest vice and love virtue : warm, therefore, in at- 
tachments, and steadfast in enmity, he treats every 
creature as a friend or foe ; expects from those he 
loves unerring integrity, and consigns his enemies 
to the reproach of wanting every virtue. On this 
principle he proceeds, and here begin his disap- 
pointments. Upon a closer examination of nature, 
he perceives that he should have moderated his 
friendship and softened his severity ; for he often 
finds the excellences of one part of mankind cloud- 
ed with vice, and the faults of the other brightened 
with virtue ; he finds no character so sanctified that 
has not its failings ; none so infamous but has some- 
what to attract our esteem ; he beholds impiety in 
lawn, and fidelity in fetters. 

He now, therefore, but too late perceives that his 
regards should have been more cool, and his hatred 
less violent ; that the truly wise seldom court ro- 
mantic friendships with the good, and avoid, if pos- 
sible, the resentment even of the wicked : every 
moment gives him fresh instances that the bonds of 
friendship are broken if drawn too closely, and that 
those whom he has treated with disrespect more 
than retaliate the injury ; at length, therefore, he is 
obliged to confess that he has declared war upon 
the vicious half of mankind, without being able to 
form an alliance among the virtuous to espouse his 
quarrel. 

Our book-taught philosopher, however, is not too 
far advanced to recede ; and, though poverty be the 
just consequence of the many enemies his conduct 
has created, yet he is resolved to meet it without 
shrinking : philosophers have described poverty in 
most charming colours ; and even his vanity is 
touched in thinking that he shall show the world, in 
himself, one more example of patience, fortitude, 

Vol. IL— K 



110 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

and resignation. " Come, then, oh poverty ! for 
what is there in thee dreadful to the wise 1 Temper- 
ance, health, and frugality walk in thy train; cheer- 
fulness and liberty are ever thy companions. Shall 
any be ashamed of thee, of whom Cincinnatus was 
not ashamed ! The running brook, the herbs of the 
field can amply satisfy nature ; man wants but little, 
nor that little long. Come, then, oh poverty ! while 
kings stand by and gaze with admiration at the true 
philosopher's resignation." 

The goddess appears — for Poverty ever comes at 
the call ; but, alas ! he finds her by no means the 
charming figure books and his warm imagination 
had painted. As when an Eastern bride, whom her 
friends and relations had long described as a model 
of perfection, pays her first visit, the longing bride- 
groom lifts the veil to see a face he had never seen 
before ; but, instead of a countenance blazing with 
beauty like the sun, he beholds deformity shooting 
icicles to his heart ; such appears Poverty to her 
new entertainer : all the fabric of enthusiasm is at 
once demolished, and a thousand miseries rise upon 
its ruins, while Contempt, with pointing finger, is 
foremost in the hideous procession. 

The poor man now finds that he can get no kings 
to look at him while he is eating ; he finds that, in 
proportion as he grows poor, the world turns its 
back upon him, and gives him leave to act the phi- 
losopher in all the majesty of solitude. It might be 
agreeable enough to play the philosopher while we 
are conscious that mankind are spectators ; but what 
signifies wearing the mask of sturdy contentment, 
and mounting the stage of restraint, when not one 
creature will assist at the exhibition ! Thus is he 
forsaken of men, while his fortitude wants the sat- 
isfaction even of self-applause ; for, either he does 
not feel his present calamities; and that is natural 
insensibility, or he disguises his feelings, and that is 
dissimulation. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. Ill 

Spleen now begins to take up the man ; not dis- 
tinguishing in his resentments, he regards all man- 
kind with detestation, and, commencing man-hater, 
seeks solitude to be at liberty to rail. 

It has been said that he who retires to solitude 
is either a beast or an angel : the censure is too se- 
vere, and the praise unmerited ; the discontented 
being who retires from society is generally some 
good-natured man, who has begun life without ex- 
perience, and knew not how to gain it in his inter- 
course with mankind. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FTJM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT 
OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA. 

Quacks Ridiculed. — Some particularly mentioned. 

I formerly acquainted thee, most grave Fum, 
with the excellence of the English in the art of heal- 
ing. The Chinese boast their skill in pulses, the 
Siamese their botanical knowledge, but the English 
advertising physicians alone of being the great re- 
storers of health, the dispensers of youth;, and the 
ensurers of longevity. I can never enough admire 
the sagacity of this country for the encouragement 
given to the professors of this art ; with what in- 
dulgence does she foster up those of her own growth, 
and kindly cherish those that come from abroad ! 
Like a skilful gardener, she invites them from every 
foreign climate to herself. Here every great exot- 
ic strikes root as soon as imported, and feels the 
genial beam of favour ; while the metropolis, like 
one vast magnificent dunghill, receives them indis- 
criminately to her breast, and supplies each with 
more than native nourishment. 

In other countries, the physician pretends to cure 
disorders in the lump ; the same doctor who com- 
bats the gout in the toe, shall pretend to prescribe 



112 OLIVER GOLDSxMITH. 

for a pain in the head ; and he who at one time 
cures a consumption, shall at another give drugs for 
a dropsy. How absurd and ridiculous ! This is being 
a mere jack-of-all-trades. Is the animal machine 
less complicated than a brass pin 1 Not less than 
ten different hands are required to make a pin ; and 
shall the body be set right by one single operator 1 

The English are sensible of the force of this rea- 
soning ; they have, therefore, one doctor for the 
eyes, another for the toes ; they have their sciatica 
doctors and inoculating doctors ; they have one 
doctor who is modestly content with securing them 
from bugbites, and five hundred who prescribe for 
the bite of mad dogs. 

The learned are not here retired with vicious mod- 
esty from public view ; for every dead wall is cover- 
ed with their names, their abilities, their amazing 
cures, and places of abode. Few patients can es- 
cape falling into their hands, unless blasted by light- 
ning, or struck dead with some sudden disorder. It 
may sometimes happen, that a stranger who does 
not understand English, or a countryman who cannot 
read, dies without even hearing of the vivifying drops 
or restorative electuary ; but, for my part, before I 
was a week in town, I had learned to bid the whole 
catalogue of disorders defiance, and was perfectly 
acquainted with the names and medicines of every 
great man or great woman of them all. 

But, as nothing pleases curiosity more than anec- 
dotes of the great, however minute or trifling, I must 
present you, inadequate as my abilities are to the 
subject, with some account of those personages who 
lead in this honourable profession. 

The first upon the list of glory is Doctor Richard 
Rock, F. U. N. This great man is short of stature, 
is fat, and waddles as he walks. He always wears 
a white three-tailed wig, nicely combed, and frizzed 
upon each cheek. Sometimes he carries a cane, but 
a hat never ; it is, indeed, very remarkable that this 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 113 

extraordinary personage should never wear a hat ; 
but so it is, he never wears a hat. He is usually- 
drawn at the top of his own bills, sitting in his arm- 
chair, holding a little bottle between his finger and 
thumb, and surrounded with rotten teeth, nippers, 
pills, packets, and gallipots. No man can prom- 
ise fairer nor better than he ; for, as he observes, 
" Be your disorder never so far gone, be under no 
uneasiness — make yourself quite easy — I can cure 
you." 

The next in fame, though by some reckoned of 
equal pretensions, is Doctor Timothy Franks, F. O. 
G. H., living in a place called the Old Bailey. As 
Rock is remarkably squab, his great rival Franks 
is as remarkably tall. He was born in the year of 
the Christian era 1692, and is, while I now write, 
exactly sixty-eight years_, three months, and four 
days old. Age, however, has no ways impaired his 
usual health and vivacity : I am told he generally 
walks with his breast open. This gentleman, who is 
of a mixed reputation, is particularly remarked for 
a becoming assurance, which carries him gently 
through life ; for, except Doctor Rock, none are 
more blessed with the advantages of face than Doc- 
tor Franks. 

And yet the great have their foibles as well as the 
little. 1 am almost ashamed to mention it. Let the 
foibles of the great rest in peace. Yet I must im- 
part the whole to my friend. These two great men 
are actually now at variance ; yes, my dear Fum 
Hoam, by the head of our grandfather, they are now 
at variance like mere men, mere common mortals. 
The champion Rock advises the public to beware of 
bog-trotting quacks ; while Franks retorts the wit 
and sarcasm (for they both have a world of wit) by 
fixing on his rival the odious appellation of Dump- 
lin Dick. He calls the serious Doctor Rock Dump- 
lin Dick. Head of Confucius, what profanation! 
Dumplin Dick ! What a pity, ye powers, that the 

K2 



114 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

learned, who were born mutually to assist in enlight- 
ening the world, should thus differ among them- 
selves, and make even the profession ridiculous ! 
Sure the world is wide enough, at least, for two 
great personages to figure in ; men of science should 
leave controversy to the little world below them ; 
and then we might see Rock and Franks walking 
together hand in hand, smiling onward to immor- 
tality. 

Next to these is Doctor Walker, preparator of his 
own medicines. This gentleman is remarkable for 
his aversion to quacks, frequently cautioning the 
public to be careful into what hands they commit 
their safety ; by which he would insinuate, that if they 
do not employ him alone, they must be undone. His 
public spirit is equal to his success. Not for him- 
self, but his country, is the gallipot prepared and 
the drops sealed up, with proper directions for any 
part of the town or country. All this is for his coun- 
try's good : so that he is now grown old in the prac- 
tice of physic and virtue ; and, to use his own ele- 
gance of expression, " There is not such another 
medicine as his in the world again." 

This, my friend, is a formidable triumvirate ; and 
yet, formidable as they are, I am resolved to defend 
the honour of Chinese physic against them all. I 
have made a vow to summon Doctor Rock to a sol- 
emn disputation in all the mysteries of the profession, 
before the face of every philomath, student in as- 
trology, and member of the learned societies. I ad- 
here to, and venerate the doctrines of old Wang- 
sku-ho. In the very teeth of opposition I will main- 
tain, " That the heart is the son of the liver, which 
hath the kidneys for its mother, and the stomach for 
its wife.''* I have, therefore, drawn up a disputa- 
tion challenge, which is to be sent speedily, to this 
effect ; 

"I, Lien Chi Altangi, D. N. R. P., native of Ho- 
* See Du Halde, vol. ii., fol. p. 185. 



OLIVETt GOLDSMITH. 115 

nan in China, to Richard Rock, F. U. N., native of 
Garbage Alley, in Wapping, defiance. Though, sir, 
I am perfectly sensible of your importance, though 
no stranger to your studies in the path of nature, 
yet there may be many things in the art of physic 
with which you are yet unacquainted. 1 know full 
well a doctor thou art, great Rock, and so am I. 
Wherefore I challenge, and do hereby invite you to 
a trial of learning upon hard problems and knotty 
physical points. In this debate we will calmly in- 
vestigate the whole theory and practice of medicine, 
botany, and chymistry ; and I invite all the philo- 
maths, with many of the lecturers in medicine, to 
be present at the dispute ; which I hope will be car- 
ried on with due decorum, with proper gravity, and 
as befits men of erudition and science among each 
other. But, before we meet face to face, I would 
thus publicly, and in the face of the whole world, 
desire you to answer one question ; I ask it with the 
same earnestness with which you have solicited the 
public ; answer me, I say, at once, without having 
recourse to your physical dictionary, which of those 
three disorders, incident to the human body, is the 
most fatal, the syncope, parenthesis, or apoplexy ? 
I beg your reply may be as public as this my de- 
mand.* I am, as hereafter may be, your admirer or 
your rival." Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESI- 
DENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN 
CHINA. 

The Fear of Mad Dogs ridiculed. 

Indulgent Nature seems to have exempted this 
island from%nany of those epidemic evils which are 

* The day after this was published, the editor received an an 
ewer, in which the doctor seems of the opinion that the apo- 
plexy is most fatal. 



116 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

so fatal in other parts of the world. A want of rain 
but for a few days beyond the expected season in 
China, spreads famine, desolation, and terror over the 
whole country ; the winds that blow from the brown 
bosom of the Western desert are impregnated with 
death in every gale ; but, in this fortunate land of 
Britain, the inhabitant courts health in every breeze, 
and the husbandman ever sows in joyful expecta- 
tion. 

But, though the nation be exempt from real evils, 
think not, my friend, that it is more happy on this 
account than others. They are afflicted, it is true, 
with neither famine nor pestilence ; but then there is 
a disorder peculiar to the country, which every sea- 
son makes strange ravages among them ; it spreads 
with pestilential rapidity, and infects almost every 
rank of people : what is still more strange, the na- 
tives have no name for this peculiar malady, though 
well known to foreign physicians by the appellation 
of epidemic terror. 

A season is never known to pass in which the 
people are not visited by this cruel calamity in one 
shape or another, seemingly different, though ever 
the same : one year it issues from a baker's shop in 
the shape of a sixpenny loaf; the next year it takes 
the appearance of a comet, with a fiery tail ; a third 
it threatens like a flat-bottomed boat, and a fourth it 
carries consternation at the bite of a mad dog. The 
people, when once infected, lose their relish for hap- 
piness, saunter about with looks of despondence, ask 
after the calamities of the day, and receive no com- 
fort but in heightening each other's distress. It is 
insignificant how remote or near, how weak or pow- 
erful the object of terror may be, when once they 
resolve to fright and be frightened : the merest tri- 
fles sow consternation and dismay ; each proportions 
his fears, not to the object, but to the djead he dis- 
covers in the countenance of others ; for, when once 
the fermentation is begun, it goes on of itself, though 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 117 

the original cause be discontinued which first set it 
in motion. 

A dread of mad dogs is the epidemic terror which 
now prevails, and the whole nation is at present ac- 
tually groaning under the malignity of its influence. 
The people sally from their houses with that cir- 
cumspection which is prudent in such as expect a 
mad dog at every turning. The physician publishes 
his "prescription, the beadle prepares his halter, and 
a few of unusual bravery arm themselves with boots 
and buff gloves, in order to face the enemy if he 
should offer to attack them. In short, the whole 
people stand bravely upon their defence, and seem 
by their present spirit to show a resolution of not 
being tamely bit by mad dogs any longer. 

Their manner of knowing whether a dog be mad 
or not somewhat resembles the ancient European 
custom of trying witches. The old woman sus- 
pected was tied hand and foot, and thrown into the 
water. If she swam, then she was instantly car- 
ried off to be burned for a witch ; if she sunk, then, 
indeed, she was acquitted of the charge, but drown- 
ed in the experiment. In the same manner, a crowd 
gathers round a dog suspected of madness, and they 
begin by teasing the devoted animal on every side : 
if he attempts to stand upon the defensive and bite, 
then he is unanimously found guilty, for a mad dog 
always snaps at everything ; if, on the contrary, he 
strives to escape by running away, then he can ex- 
pect no compassion, for mad dogs always run straight 
forward before them. 

It is pleasant enough for a neutral being like me, 
who have no share in those ideal calamities, to mark 
the stages of this national disease. The terror at 
first feebly enters with a disregarded story of a little 
dog that had gone through a neighbouring village, 
that was thought to be mad by several that had seen 
him. The next account comes that a mastiff ran 
through a certain town, and had bit five geese, which 



118 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

immediately ran mad, foamed at the bill, and died in 
great agonies soon after. Then comes an affecting 
history of a little boy bit in the leg, and gone down 
to be dipped in the salt water ; when the people 
have sufficiently shuddered at that, they are next 
congealed with a frightful account of a man who 
was said lately to have died from a bite he had re- 
ceived some years before. This relation only pre- 
pares the way for another, still more hideous, as 
how the master of a family, with seven small chil- 
dren, were all bit by a mad lapdog, and how the poor 
father first perceived the infection by calling for a 
draught of water, where he saw the lapdog swim- 
ming in the cup. 

When epidemic terror is thus once excited, every 
morning comes loaded with some new disaster ; as, 
in stories of ghosts, each loves to hear the account, 
though it only serves to make him uneasy, so here 
each listens with eagerness, and adds to the tidings 
with new circumstances of peculiar horror. A lady, 
for instance, in the country, of very weak nerves, 
has been frighted by the barking of a dog ; and this, 
alas ! too frequently happens. The story soon is 
improved and spreads, that a mad dog had frighted a 
lady of distinction. These circumstances begin to 
grow terrible before they have reached the neigh- 
bouring village, and there the report is, that a lady 
of quality was bit by a mad mastiff. This account 
every moment gathers new strength, and grows 
more dismal as it approaches the capital ; and, by 
the time it has arrived in town, the lady is described 
with wild eyes, foaming mouth, running mad upon 
all fours, barking like a dog, biting her servants, and 
at last smothered between two beds by the advice 
of her doctors ; while the mad mastiff is in the 
mean time running the whole country over, slaver- 
ing at the mouth, and seeking whom he may devour. 

My landlady, a good-natured woman, but a little 
credulous, waked me some mornings ago before the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 119 

usual hour, with horror and astonishment in her 
looks ; she desired me, if I had any regard for my 
safety, to keep within : for, a few days ago, so dis- 
mal an accident had happened as to put all the 
world upon their guard. A mad dog down in the 
country, she assured me, had bit a farmer, who, soon 
becoming mad, ran into his own yard and bit a fine 
brindled cow ; the cow quickly became as mad as 
the man, began to foam at the mouth, and, raising 
herself up, walked about on her hind legs, some- 
times barking like a dog, and sometimes attempting 
to talk like the farmer. Upon examining the grounds 
of this story, I found my landlady had it from one 
neighbour, who had it from another neighbour, who 
heard it from very good authority. 

Were most stories of this nature thoroughly ex- 
amined, it would be found that numbers of such as 
have been said to suffer were no way injured, and 
that of those Avho have been actually bitten, not one 
in a hundred was bit by a mad dog. Such accounts, 
in general, therefore, only serve to make the people 
miserable by false terrors, and sometimes fright the 
patient into actual phrensy by creating those very 
symptoms they pretended to deplore. 

But, even allowing three or four to die in a season 
of this terrible death (and four is probably too large 
a concession), yet still it is not considered how 
many are preserved in their health and in their prop- 
erty by this devoted animal's services. The mid- 
night robber is kept at a distance ; the insidious 
thief is often detected ; the healthful chase repairs 
many a worn constitution ; and the poor man finds in 
his dog a willing assistant, eager to lessen his toils, 
and content with the smallest retribution. 

" A dog," says one of the English poets, " is an 
honest creature, and I am a friend to dogs." Of all 
the beasts that graze the lawn or hunt the forest, a 
dog is the only animal that, leaving his fellows, at- 
tempts to cultivate the friendship of man ; to man 



120 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

he looks in all his necessities with a speaking eye 
for assistance ; exerts for him all the little service 
in his power with cheerfulness and pleasure ; for 
him bears famine and fatigue with patience and res- 
ignation; no injuries can abate his fidelity, no dis- 
tress induce him to forsake his benefactor : studious 
to please, and fearing to offend, he is still a humble, 
steadfast dependant, and in him alone fawning is not 
flattery. How unkind, then, to torture this faithful 
creature, who has left the forest to claim the protec- 
tion of man : how ungrateful a return to the trusty 
animal for all his services. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO HINGPO, BY THE WAY OF 

MOSCOW. 

Fortune proved not to be Blind.— The Story of the Avaricious 

Miller. 

The Europeans are themselves blind who describe 
Fortune without sight. No first-rate beauty had 
ever finer eyes, or saw more clearly ; they who have 
no other trade but seeking their fortune, need never 
hope to find her ; coquette-like, she flies from her 
close pursuers, and at last fixes on the plodding me- 
chanic who stays at home and minds his business. 

I am amazed how men call her blind, when, by the 
company she keeps, she seems so very discerning. 
Wherever you see a gaming-table, be very sure For- 
tune is not there ; wherever you see a house with 
the doors open, be very sure Fortune is not there ; 
when you see a man whose pocket-holes are laced 
with gold, be satisfied Fortune is not there ; wherev- 
er you see a beautiful woman good-natured and obli- 
ging, be convinced Fortune is never there. In short, 
she is ever seen accompanying industry; and as 
often trundling a wheelbarrow as lolling in a coach 
and six. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 121 

If you would make Fortune your friend, or — to per- 
sonize her no longer — if you desire, my son, to be 
rich and have money, be more eager to save than 
to acquire : when people say money is to be got 
here and money is to be got there, take no notice ; 
mind your own business ; stay where you are ; and 
secure all you can get without stirring. When you 
hear that your neighbour has picked up a purse of 
gold in the street, never run out into the same street, 
looking about you, in order to pick up such another : 
or when you are informed that he has made a for- 
tune in one branch of business, never change your 
own in order to be his rival. Do not desire to be 
rich all at once, but patiently add farthing to far- 
thing. Perhaps you despise the petty sum ; and yet 
they who want a farthing, and have no friend that 
will lend them it, think farthings very good things. 
Whang, the foolish miller, when he wanted a far- 
thing in his distress, found that no friend would 
lend, because they knew he wanted. Did you ever 
read the story of Whang in our books of Chinese 
learning 1 He who, despising small sums and grasp- 
ing at all, lost even what he had ] 

Whang, the miller, was naturally avaricious ; no- 
body loved money better than he, or more respected 
those that had it. When people would talk of a 
rich man in company, Whang would say, I know 
him very well ; he and I have been long acquainted ; 
he and 1 are intimate ; he stood for a child of mine. 
But, if ever a poor man was mentioned, he had not 
the least knowledge of the man ; he might be very 
well for aught he knew; but he was not fond of 
many acquaintances, and loved to choose his com- 
pany. 

Whang, however, with all his eagerness for riches, 
was in reality poor ; he had nothing but the profits 
of his mill to support him ; but, though these were 
small, they were certain ; while his mill stood and 
went, he was sure of eating, and Ins frugality was 

Vol. II.— L 



122 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

such that he every day laid some money by, which 
he would at intervals count and contemplate with 
much satisfaction. Yet still his acquisitions were 
not equal to his desires : he only found himself above 
want, whereas he desired to be possessed of afflu- 
ence. 

One day, as he was indulging these wishes, he was 
informed that a neighbour of his had found a pan of 
money underground, having dreamed of it three 
nights running before. These tidings were daggers 
to the heart of poor Whang. " Here am I," says 
he, <; toiling and moiling from morning till night for 
a few paltry farthings, while neighbour Hunks only 
goes quietly to bed and dreams himself into thou- 
sands before morning. Oh that I could dream like 
him ! with what pleasure would I dig round the pan ! 
how slyly would I carry it home — not even my wife 
should see me ! and then, oh the pleasure of thrust- 
ing one's hand into a heap of gold up to the elbow !" 

Such reflections only served to make the miller 
unhappy ; he discontinued his former assiduity ; he 
was quite disgusted with small gains, and his cus- 
tomers began to forsake him. Every day he repeat- 
ed the wish, and every night laid himself down in 
order to dream. Fortune, that was for a long time 
unkind, at last, however, seemed to smile upon his 
distress, and indulged him with the wished-for vis- 
ion. He dreamed that under a certain part of the 
foundation of his mill there was concealed a mon- 
strous pan of gold and diamonds, buried deep in the 
ground, and covered with a large flat stone. He 
rose up, thanked the stars that were at last pleased 
to take pity on his sufferings, and concealed his good 
luck from every person, as is usual in money dreams, 
in order to have the vision repeated the two suc- 
ceeding nights, by which he should be certain of its 
veracity ; his wishes in this were also answered ; 
he still dreamed of the same pan of money in the 
very same place. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 123 

Now, therefore, it was past a doubt ; so, getting 
ap early the third morning, he repairs alone, with a 
mattock in his hand, to the mill, and began to un- 
dermine that part of the wall which the vision di- 
rected. The first omen of success that he met with 
was a broken mug ; digging still deeper, he turns up 
a house tile, quite new and entire. At last, after 
much digging, he came to the broad flat stone, but 
then so large that it was beyond one man's strength 
to remove it. " Here," cried he, in raptures to him- 
self, " here it is ; under this stone there is room for 
a very large pan of diamonds indeed. I must even 
go home to my wife and tell her the whole affair, 
and get her to assist me in turning it up." Away 
therefore he goes, and acquaints his wife with every 
circumstance of their good fortune. Her raptures 
on this occasion may be easily imagined : she flew 
round his neck and embraced him in an agony of 
joy ; but these transports, however, did not delay 
their eagerness to know the exact sum. Returning, 
therefore, speedily together to the place where 
Whang had been digging, there they found — not, in- 
deed, the expected treasure, but the mill, their only 
support, undermined and fallen. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT 
OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY" AT PEKIN, IN CHINA. 

The Shabby Beau, the Man in Black, the Chinese Philosopher, 

&c, at Vauxhall. 

The people of London are as fond of walking as 
our friends at Pekin are of riding ; one of the prin- 
cipal entertainments of the citizens here in summer 
is to repair about nightfall to a garden not far from 
town, where they walk about, show their best 
clothes and best faces, and listen to a concert pro- 
vided for the occasion. 



124 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

I accepted an invitation a few evenings ago from 
my old friend, the man in black, to be one of a 
party that was to sup there, and, at the appointed 
hour, waited upon him at his lodgings. There I 
found the company assembled and expecting my ar- 
rival. Our party consisted of my friend, in superla- 
tive finery, his stockings rolled, a black velvet waist- 
coat which was formerly new, and his gray wig 
combed down in imitation of hair ; a pawnbroker's 
widow, of whom, by-the-by, my friend was a pro- 
fessed admirer, dressed out in green damask, with 
three gold rings on every finger ; Mr. Tibbs, the sec- 
ond-rate beau I have formerly described, together 
with his lady, in flimsy silk, dirty gauze instead of 
linen, and a hat as big as an umbrella. 

Our first difficulty was in settling how we should 
set out. Mrs. Tibbs had a natural aversion to the 
water ; and the widow, being a little in flesh, as warm- 
ly protested against walking ; a coach was therefore 
agreed upon, which, being too small to carry five, 
Mr. Tibbs consented to sit in his wife's lap. 

In this manner, therefore, we set forward, being 
entertained by the way with the bodings of Mr. Tibbs, 
who assured us he did not expect to see a single 
creature for the evening above the degree of a 
cheesemonger ; that this was the last night of the 
gardens, and that, consequently, we should be pester- 
ed with the nobility and gentry from Thames-street 
and Crooked Lane, with several other prophetic 
ejaculations, probably inspired by the uneasiness of 
his situation. 

The illuminations had began before we arrived; 
and I must confess, that, upon entering the gardens, I 
found every sense overpaid with more than expected 
pleasure ; the lights everywhere glimmering through 
the scarcely moving trees ; the full-bodied concert 
bursting on the stillness of the night ; the natural 
concert of the birds, in the more retired part of the 
grove, vying with that which was formed by art; the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 125 

company gayly dressed, looking satisfaction, and the 
tables spread with various delicacies, all conspired 
to fill my imagination with the visionary happiness 
of the Arabian lawgiver, and lifted me into an ecsta- 
sy of admiration. ********** 

I was going to second his remarks, when we were 
called to a consultation by Mr. Tibbs and the rest 
of the company, to know in what manner we were 
to lay out the evening to the greatest advantage. 
Mrs. Tibbs was for keeping the genteel walk of the 
garden, where, she observed, there was always the 
very best company ; the widow, on the contrary, who 
came but once a season, was for securing a good 
standing-place to see the water-works, which, she 
assured us, would begin in less than an hour at far- 
thest ; a dispute therefore began, and, as it was man- 
aged betw T een two of very opposite characters, it 
threatened to grow more bitter at every reply. 
Mrs. Tibbs wondered how people could pretend to 
know the polite world who had received all their 
rudiments of breeding behind a counter; to which 
the other replied, that, though some people sat behind 
counters, yet they could sit at the head of their own 
tables too, and carve three good dishes of hot meat 
whenever they thought proper, which was more 
than some people could say for themselves, that 
hardly knew a rabbit and onions from a green goose 
and gooseberries. 

It is hard to say where this might have ended, had 
not the husband, who probably knew the impetuos- 
ity of his wife's disposition, proposed to end the dis- 
pute by adjourning to a box, and try if there was 
anything to be had for supper that was supportable. 
To this we all consented ; but here a new distress 
arose ; Mr. and Mrs. Tibbs would sit in none but a 
genteel box; a box where they might see and be 
seen ; one, as they expressed it, in the very focus 
of public view ; but such a box was not easy to be 
obtained ; for, though we were perfectly convinced of 

L2 



126 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

our own gentility and the gentility -of our appear- 
ance, yet we found it a difficult matter to persuade 
the keepers of the Doxes to be of our opinion ; they 
chose to reserve genteel boxes for what they judged 
more genteel company. 

At last, however, we were fixed, though some- 
what obscurely ; and supplied with the usual enter- 
tainment of the place. The widow found every- 
thing excellent, but Mrs. Tibbs thought everything 
detestable. " Come, come, my dear," cries her hus- 
band, by way of consolation, " to be sure we can't 
find such dressing here as we have at Lord Crump's 
or Lady Crimp's ; but for Vauxhall dressing it is 
pretty good. It is not their victuals, indeed, I find 
fault with, but their wine : their wine," cries he, 
drinking off a glass, "indeed, is most abominable." 

By this last contradiction the widow was fairly 
conquered in point of politeness. She perceived 
now, that she had no pretensions in the world to 
taste : her very senses were vulgar since she had 
praised detestable custards and smacked wretched 
wine ; she was therefore content to yield the victory, 
and, for the rest of the night, to listen and improve. 
It is true she would now and then forget herself, and 
confess she was pleased, but they soon brought her 
back again to miserable refinement. She once prais- 
ed the painting of the box in which they were sit- 
ting, but was soon convinced that such paltry pieces 
ought rather to excite horror than satisfaction ; she 
ventured again to commend one of the singers, but 
Mrs. Tibbs soon let her know, in the style of a con- 
noisseur, that the singer in question had neither ear, 
voice, nor judgment. 

Mr. Tibbs, now willing to prove that his wife's 
pretensions to music were just r entreated her to fa- 
vour the company with a song ; but to this she gave 
a positive denial. " For you know very well, my 
dear," says she, " that I am not in voice to-day ; and, 
when one's voice is not equal to one's judgment, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 127 

what signifies singing ! besides, as there is no ac- 
companiment, it would be but spoiling music.' 1 All 
these excuses, however, were overruled by the rest 
of the company, who, though one would think they 
already had music enough, joined in the entreaty. 
But particularly the widow, now willing to convince 
the company of her breeding, pressed so warmly, 
that she seemed determined to take no refusal. At 
last, then, the lady complied ; and, after humming 
some minutes, began with such a voice and such 
affectation as I could perceive gave but little satis- 
faction to any except her husband. He sat with 
rapture in his eye, and beat time with his hand on 
the table. 

You must observe, my friend, that it is the cus- 
tom of this country, when a lady or gentleman hap- 
pens to sing, for the company to sit as mute and mo- 
tionless as statues. Every feature, every limb must 
seem to correspond in fixed attention ; and, while the 
song continues, they are to remain in a state of uni- 
versal petrefaction. In this mortifying situation we 
had continued for some time, listening to the song 
and looking with tranquillity, when the master of 
the box came to inform us that the water-works 
were going to begin. At this information I could 
instantly perceive the widow bounce from her seat ; 
but, correcting herself, she sat down again, repressed 
by motives of good breeding. Mrs. Tibbs, who had 
seen the water-works a hundred times, resolving 
not to be interrupted, continued her song without 
any share of mercy, nor had the smallest pity on 
our impatience. The widow's face, i own, gave me 
high entertainment : in it I could plainly read the 
struggle she felt between good breeding and curios- 
ity ; she talked of the water- works the whole even- 
ing before, and she seemed to have come merely in 
order to see them ; but she could not bounce out in 
the very middle of a song, for that would be forfeit- 
ing all pretensions to high life or high-lived com- 



128 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

pany ever after. Mrs. Tibbs, therefore, kept on 
singing, and we continued to listen, till at last, when 
the song was concluded, the waiter came in to in- 
form us that the water-works were over. 

" The water- works over !" cried the widow ; " the 
water- works over already ! That's impossible ; they 
can't be over so soon !" " It is not my business," 
replied the fellow, " to contradict your ladyship ; 
I'll run again and see." He went, and soon returned 
with a confirmation of the dismal tidings. No cer- 
emony could now bind my friend's disappointed mis- 
tress : she testified her displeasure in the openest 
manner ; in short, she now began to find fault in 
turn, and at last insisted upon going home, just at 
the time that Mr. and Mrs. Tibbs assured the com- 
pany that the polite hours were going to begin, and 
that the ladies would instantaneously be entertained 
with the horns. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI TO HINGPO, BY THE WAY OF 

MOSCOW. 

Life endeared by Age. 

Age, that lessens the enjoyments of life, increases 
our desire of living. Those dangers which, in the 
vigour of youth, we had learned to despise, assume 
new terrors as we grow old. Our caution increasing 
as our years increase, fear becomes, at last, the pre- 
vailing passion of the mind ; and the small remain- 
der of life is taken up in useless efforts to keep off 
our end, or provide for a continued existence. 

Strange contradiction in our nature, and to which 
even the wise are liable ! If I should judge of that 
part of life which lies before me by that which I 
have already seen, the prospect is hideous. Expe- 
rience tells me that my past enjoyments have 
brought no real felicity ; and sensation assures me 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 129 

that those I have felt are stronger than those which 
are yet to come. Yet experience and sensation in 
vain persuade ; hope, more powerful than either, 
dresses out the distant prospect in fancied beauty ; 
some happiness in long perspective still beckons me 
to pursue ; and, like a losing gamester, every new 
disappointment increases my ardour to continue the 
game. 

Whence, my friend, this increased love of life, 
which grows upon us with our years 1 Whence 
comes it that we thus make greater efforts to pre- 
serve our existence at a period when it becomes 
scarce worth the keeping 1 Is it that nature, atten- 
tive to the preservation of mankind, increases our 
wishes to live while she lessens our enjoyments; 
and, as she robs the senses of every pleasure, equips 
imagination in the spoil ? Life would be insupport- 
able to an old man, who, loaded with infirmities, 
feared death no more than when in the vigour of 
manhood ; the numberless calamities of decaying 
nature, and the consciousness of surviving every 
pleasure, would at once induce him, with his own 
hand, to terminate the scene of miseiy ; but, hap- 
pily, the fear of death forsakes him at a time when 
it could only be prejudicial, and life acquires an 
imaginary value in proportion as its real value is no 
more. 

Our attachment to every object around us in- 
creases, in general, from the length of our acquaint- 
ance with it. " I would not choose," says a French 
philosopher, "to see an old post pulled up with 
which I had been long acquainted." A mind long 
habituated to a certain set of objects insensibly be- 
comes fond of seeing them, visits them from habit, 
and parts from them with reluctance ; from hence 
proceeds the avarice of the old in every kind of pos- 
session. They love the world and all that it produ- 
ces ; they love life and all its advantages ; not be- 



130 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

cause it gives them pleasure, but because they have 
known it long. 

Chinvang the Chaste, ascending the throne of 
China, commanded that all who were unjustly de- 
tained in prison during the preceding reigns should 
be set free. Among the number who came to thank 
their deliverer on this occasion, there appeared a 
majestic old man, who, falling at the emperor's feet, 
addressed him as follows : " Great father of China, 
behold a wretch, now eighty-five years old, who was 
shut up in a dungeon at the age of twenty-two. I 
was imprisoned, though a stranger to crime, or with- 
out being even confronted by my accusers. I have 
now lived in solitude and darkness for more than 
fifty years, and am grown familiar with distress. 
As yet dazzled with the splendour of that sun to 
which you have restored me, I have been wandering 
the streets to find some friend that would assist, or 
relieve, or remember me ; but my friends, my fami- 
ly, and relations are all dead, and I am forgotten. 
Permit me, then, oh Chinvang, to wear out the 
wretched remains of life in my former prison ; the 
walls of my dungeon are to me more pleasing than 
the most splendid palace ; I have not long to live, and 
shall be unhappy except I spend the rest of my days 
where my youth was passed, in that prison from 
whence you was pleased to release me." 

The old man's passion for confinement is similar 
to that we have all for life. We are habituated to 
the prison ; we look round with discontent, are dis- 
pleased with the abode, and yet the length of our 
captivity only increases our fondness for the cell. 
The trees we have planted, the houses we have 
built, or the posterity we have begotten, all serve to 
bind us closer to earth, and imbitter our parting. 
Life sues the young like a new acquaintance ; the 
companion, as yet unexhausted, is at once instruct- 
ive and amusing ; its company pleases, yet, for all 
this, it is but little regarded. To us, who are de- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 131 

clined in years, life appears like an old friend ; its 
jests have been anticipated in former conversation ; 
it has no new story to make us smile, no new im- 
provement with which to surprise, yet still we love 
it ; destitute of every enjoyment, still we love it ; 
husband the wasting treasure with increased fru- 
gality, and feel all the poignancy of anguish in fatal 
separation. 

Sir Philip Mordaunt was young, beautiful, sincere, 
brave — an Englishman. He had a complete fortune 
of his own, and the love of the king his master, 
which was equivalent to riches. Lite opened all 
her treasure before him, and promised a long suc- 
cession of future happiness. He came, tasted of 
the entertainment, but was disgusted even in the 
beginning. He professed an aversion to living ; was 
tired of walking round the same circle ; had tried 
every enjoyment, and found them all grow weaker 
at ever} 7 repetition. " If life be in youth so dis- 
pleasing," cried he to himself, " what will it appear 
when age comes on 1 If it be at present indifferent, 
sure it will then be execrable." This thought im- 
bittered every reflection ; till at last, with all the se- 
renity of perverted reason, he ended the debate with 
a pistol ! Had this self-deluded man been apprized 
that existence grows the more desirable to us the 
longer we exist, he would have then faced old age 
without shrinking ; he would have boldly dared to 
live, and served that society by his future assiduity 
which he basely injured by his desertion. Adieu. * 



132 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



PROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESI-* 
DENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IK 
CHINA. 

The Description of a Little Great Man. 

In reading the newspapers here, I have reckoned 
up not less than twenty-five great men, seventeen 
very great men, and nine very extraordinary men f 
in' less than the compass of half a year. These, 
say the gazettes, are the men that posterity are to 
gaze at with admiration ; these are the names thai 
Fame will be employed in holding up for the aston- 
ishment of succeeding ages. Let me see : forty-six 
great men in half a year amounts just to ninety-two 
in a year. I wonder how posterity will be able to 
remember them all, or whether the people, in future 
times, will have any other business to mind but that 
of getting the catalogue by heart. 

Does the mayor of a corporation make a speech? 
— he is instantly set down for a great man. Does a 
pedant digest his commonplace book into a folio ? 
— he quickly becomes great. Does a poet string up 
trite sentiments in rhyme 1 — he also becomes the 
great man of the hour. How diminutive soever the 
object of admiration, each is followed b3^ a crowd of 
still more diminutive admirers. The shout begins 
in his train ; onward he marches towards immortal- 
ity ; looks back at the pursuing crowd with self-sat- 
isfaction, catching all the oddities, the whimsies, the 
absurdities, and the littlenesses of conscious great- 
ness by the way. 

I was yesterday invited by a gentleman to dinner, 
who promised that our entertainment should consist 
of a haunch of venison, a turtle, and a great man. 
I came according to appointment. The venison was 
fine, the turtle good, but the great man insupporta- 
ble. The moment I ventured to speak, I was at 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 133 

once contradicted with a snap. I attempted, by a 
second and a third assault, to retrieve my lost repu- 
tation, but was still beat back with confusion. I 
was resolved to attack, him once more from in- 
trenchment, and turned the conversation upon the 
government of China : but even here he asserted, 
snapped, and contradicted as before. "Heavens," 
thought I, " this man pretends to know China even 
better than myself!" I looked round to see who 
was on my side, but every eye was fixed in admira- 
tion on the great man. I therefore, at iast, thought 
proper to sit silent, and act the pretty gentleman 
during the ensuing conversation. 

When a man has once secured a circle of admi- 
rers, he may be as ridiculous here as he thinks prop- 
er ; and it all passes for elevation of sentiment or 
learned absence. If he transgresses the common 
forms of breeding, mistakes even a teapot for a to- 
bacco-box, it is said that his thoughts are fixed on 
more important objects : to speak and act like the 
rest of mankind is to be no greater than they. 
There is something of oddity in the very idea of 
greatness, for we are seldom astonished at a thing 
very much resembling ourselves. 

When the Tartars make a Lama, their first care 
is to place him in a dark corner of the temple ; here 
he is to sit half concealed from view, to regulate the 
motion of his hands, lips, and eyes ; but, above all, 
he is enjoined gravity and silence. This, however, 
is but the prelude to his apotheosis : a set of emis- 
saries are despatched among the people to cry up 
his piety, gravity, and love of raw flesh ; the people 
take them at their word, and approach the Lama, now 
become an idol, with the most humble prostration ; 
he receives their addresses without motion, com- 
mences a god, and is ever after fed by his priests 
with the spoon of immortality. The same receipt 
is this country serves to make a great man. The 
idol only keeps close, sends out his little emissaries 

Vol. II.— M 



134 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

to be hearty in his praise, and straight, whether 
statesman or author, he is set down in the list of 
fame ; continues to be praised while it is fashionable 
to praise, or while he prudently keeps his minute- 
ness concealed from the public. 

I have visited many countries, and have been in 
cities without number, yet never did I enter a town 
which could not produce ten or twelve of those little 
great men ; all fancying themselves known to the 
rest of the world, and complimenting each other upon 
their extensive reputation. It is amusing enough 
when two of those domestic prodigies of learning 
mount the stage of ceremony, and give and take 
praise from each other. I have been present when 
a German doctor, for having pronounced a panegyr- 
ic upon a certain monk, was thought the most inge- 
nious man in the world ; till the monk, soon after, 
divided this reputation by returning the compliment ; 
by which means they both marched off with univer- 
sal applause. 

The same degree of undeserved adulation that 
attends our great man while living, often also fol- 
lows him to the tomb. It frequently happens that 
one of his little admirers sits down, big with the 
important subject, and is delivered of the history of 
his life and writings. This may probably be called 
the revolutions of a life between the fireside and the 
easy-chair. In this we learn the year in which he 
was born, at what an early age he gave symptoms 
of uncommon genius and application, together with 
some of his smart sayings, collected by his aunt and 
mother while yet but a boy. The next book intro- 
duces him to the University, where we are informed 
of his amazing progress in learning, his excellent 
skill in darning stockings, and his new invention for 
papering books to save the covers. He next makes 
his appearance in the republic of letters, and pub- 
lishes his folio. Now the colossus is reared, his 
works are eagerly bought up by all the purchasers 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 135 

of scarce books. The learned societies invite him 
to become a member : he disputes against some 
foreigner with a long Latin name, conquers in the 
controversy, is complimented by several authors 
of gravity and importance, is excessively fond of 
egg sauce with his pig, becomes president of a 
literary club, and dies in the meridian of his glo- 
ry. Happy they who thus have some little faith- 
ful attendant who never forsakes them, but prepares 
to wrangle and to praise against every opposer ; at 
once ready to increase their pride while living, and 
their character when dead. For you and I, my 
friend, who have no humble admirer thus to attend 
us, we, who neither are nor ever will be great men, 
and who do not much care whether we are great 
men or no, at least let us strive to be honest men ; 
and to have common sense. 



TO THE SAME. 

The Necessity of Amusing each other with New Books insisted 

upon. 

There are numbers in this city who live by wri- 
ting new books ; and yet there are thousands of vol- 
umes in every large library unread and forgotten. 
This, upon my arrival, was one of those contradic- 
tions which I was unable to account for. "Is it 
possible," said I, " that there should be any demand 
for new books before those already published are 
read 1 Can there be so many employed in produ- 
cing a commodity with which the market is already 
overstocked 1 and with goods, also, better than any 
of modern manufacture !" 

What at first view appeared an inconsistency, is 
a proof at once of this people's wisdom and refine- 
ment. Even allowing the works of their ancestors 
better written than theirs, yet those of the moderns 



136 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

acquire a real value by being marked with the im- 
pression of the times. Antiquity has been in the 
possession of others, the present is our own ; let us 
first, therefore, learn to know what belongs to our- 
selves ; and then, if we have leisure, 'cast our reflec- 
tions back to the reign of Shonou, who governed 
twenty thousand years before the creation of the 
moon. 

The volumes of antiquity, like medals, may very 
well serve to amuse the curious ; but the works of 
the moderns, like the current coin of a kingdom, are 
much better for immediate use. The former are oft- 
en prized above their intrinsic value, and kept with 
care ; the latter seldom pass for more than they are 
worth, and are often subject to the merciless hands 
of sweating critics and clipping compilers. The 
works of antiquity were ever praised, those of the 
moderns read ; the treasures of our ancestors have 
our esteem, and we boast the possession ; those of 
contemporary genius engage our heart, although we 
blush to own it. The visits we pay the former re- 
semble those we pay the great ; the ceremony is 
troublesome, and yet such as we would not choose 
to forego. Our acquaintance with modern books is 
like sitting with a friend : our pride is not flattered 
in the interview, but it gives more internal satisfac- 
tion. 

In proportion as society refines, new books must 
ever become more necessary. Savage rusticity is 
reclaimed by oral admonition alone ; but the ele- 
gant excesses of refinement are best corrected by 
the still voice of a studious inquiry. In a polite age, 
almost every person becomes a reader, and receives 
more instruction from the press than the pulpit. 
The preaching bonze may instruct the illiterate peas- 
ant, but nothing less than the insinuating address 
of a fine writer can win its way to a heart already 
relaxed in all the effeminacy of refinement. Books 
are necessary to correct the views of the polite ; but 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 137 

those vices are ever changing, and the antidote 
should be changed accordingly, should still be new. 

Instead, therefore, of thinking the number of new- 
publications here too great, I could wish it still great- 
er, as they are the most useful instruments of ref- 
ormation. Every country must be instructed either 
by writers or preachers ; but, as the number of read- 
ers increases, the number of hearers is proportion- 
ably diminished, the .writer becomes more useful, 
and the preacher bonze less necessary. 

Instead, therefore, of complaining that writers are 
overpaid when their works procure them a bare 
subsistence, I should imagine it the duty of a state 
not only to encourage their numbers, but their in- 
dustry. A bonze is rewarded with immense riches 
for instructing only a few, even of the most igno- 
rant people ; and sure the poor scholar should not 
beg his bread who is capable of instructing a million. 

Of all rewards, I grant, the most pleasing to a 
man of real merit is fame ; but a polite age, of all 
times, is that in which scarcely any share of merit 
can acquire it. What numbers of tine writers in the 
latter empire of Rome, when refinement was car- 
ried to the highest pitch, have missed that fame and 
immortality which they had fondly arrogated to 
themselves ! How many Greek authors, who wrote 
at that period when Constantinople was the refined 
mistress of the empire, now rest, either not printed 
or not read, in the libraries of Europe ! Those who 
came first, while either state was yet barbarous, 
carried all the reputation away. Authors, as the 
age refined, became more numerous, and their num- 
bers destroyed their fame. It is but natural, there- 
fore, for the writer, when conscious that his works 
will not procure him fame hereafter, to endeavour 
to make them turn out to his temporal interest here. 

Whatever be the motives which induce men to 
write, whether avarice or fame, the country becomes 
most wise and happy in which they most serve for 

M2 



138 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

instructers. The countries where sacerdotal in- 
struction alone is permitted, remain in ignorance, 
superstition, and hopeless slavery. In England, 
where there are as many new books published as in 
all the rest of Europe together, a spirit of freedom 
and reason reigns among the people ; they have been 
often known to have acted like fools, they are gen- 
erally found to think like men. 

The only danger that attends a multiplicity of pub- 
lications is, that some of them may be calculated to 
injure rather than benefit society. But, where wri- 
ters are numerous, they also serve as a check upon 
each other ; and perhaps a literary inquisition is 
the most terrible punishment that can be conceived 
to a literary transgressor. 

But, to do the English justice, there are but few 
offenders of this kind ; their publications, in general, 
aim at mending either the heart, or improving the 
common weal. The dullest writer talks of virtue, 
and liberty, and benevolence with esteem ; tells his 
true story, filled with good and wholesome advice ; 
warns against slavery, bribery, or the bite of a mad 
dog ; and dresses up his little useful magazine of 
knowledge and entertainment at least with a good 
intention. The dunces of France, on the other hand, 
who have less encouragement, are more vicious. 
Tender hearts, languishing eyes, Leonora in love at 
thirteen, ecstatic transports, stolen blisses, are the 
frivolous subjects of their frivolous memoirs. In 
England, if a bawdy blockhead thus breaks in on the 
community, he sets his whole fraternity in a roar ; 
nor can he escape, even though he should fly to the 
nobility for shelter. 

Thus even dunces, my friend, may make them- 
selves useful. But there are others whom Nature 
has blessed with talents above the rest of mankind ; 
men capable of thinking with precision, and impress- 
ing their thoughts with rapidity ; beings who diffuse 
those regards upon mankind which others contract 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 139 

and settle upon themselves. These deserve every 
honour from that community of which they are more 
peculiarly the children ; to such I would give my 
heart, since to them I am indebted for its humanity ! 
Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT 
OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA. 

The Behaviour of a Shopkeeper and his Journeyman. 

The shops of London are as well furnished as 
those of Pekin. Those of London have a picture 
hung at their doors, informing the passengers what 
they have to sell, as those of Pekin have a board, to 
assure the buyer that they have no intention to cheat 
him. 

I was this morning to buy silk for a nightcap : im- 
mediately upon entering the mercer's shop, the mas- 
ter and his two men, with wigs plastered with pow- 
der, appeared to ask my commands. They were 
certainly the civillest people alive ; if I but looked, 
they flew to the place where I cast my eye : every 
motion of mine sent them running round the whole 
shop for my satisfaction. I informed them that I 
wanted what was good, and they showed me no less 
than forty pieces, and each was better than the for- 
mer ; the prettiest pattern in nature, and the fittest 
in the world for nightcaps. " My very good friend," 
said I to the mercer, " you must not pretend to in- 
struct me in silks ; I know these, in particular, to be 
no better than your mere flimsy Bungees." " That 
may be," cried the mercer, who, I afterward found, 
had never contradicted a man in his life ; " I can't 
pretend to say but they may ; but I can assure you, 
my Lady Trail has had a sacque from this piece this 
very morning." " But, friend," said I, " though my 
lady has chosen a sacque from it, I see no necessity 



140 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

that I should wear it for a nightcap." " That may 
be," returned he again, ; " yet what becomes a pretty 
lady will at any time look well on a handsome gen- 
tleman." This short compliment was thrown in so 
very reasonably upon my ugly face, that, even though 
I disliked the silk, 1 desired him to cut me off the 
pattern of a nightcap. 

While this business was consigned to his journey- 
man, the master himself took down some pieces of 
silk still finer than any I had yet seen, and, spread- 
ing them before me, "There," cries he, "there's 
beauty : my Lord Snakeskin has bespoke the fel- 
low of this for the birthnight this very morning ; it 
would look charmingly in waistcoats." " But I 
don't want a waistcoat," replied I. " Not want a 
waistcoat!" returned the mercer; " then I would ad- 
vise you to buy one ; when waistcoats are wanted, 
you may depend upon it they will come dear. Al- 
ways buy before you want, and you are sure to be 
well used, as they say in Cheapside." There was 
so much justice in his advice, that I could not refuse 
taking it : besides, the silk, which was really a good 
one, increased the temptation, so I gave orders for 
that too. 

As I was waiting to have my bargains measured 
and cut, which, I know not how, they executed but 
slowly, during the interval the mercer entertained 
me with the modern manner of some of the nobility 
receiving company in their morning-gowns. " Per- 
haps, sir," adds he, " you have a mind to see what 
kind of silk is universally worn." Without waiting 
for my reply, he spreads a piece before me, which 
might be reckoned beautiful even in China. " If the 
nobility," continues he, " were to know I sold this 
to any under a right honourable, I should certainly 
lose their custom ; you see, my lord, it is at once 
rich, tasty, and quite the thing." " I am no lord," 
interrupted I. " I beg pardon," cried he ; " but be 
pleased to remember, when you intend buying a 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 141 

morning-gown, that you had an offer from me of 
something worth money. Conscience, sir, con- 
science is my way of dealing : you may buy a morn- 
ing-gown now, or you may stay till they become 
dearer and less fashionable ; but it is not my busi- 
ness to advise." In short, most reverend Fum, he 
persuaded me to buy a morning-gown also, and 
would probably have persuaded me to have bought 
half the goods in his shop if I had stayed long 
enough, or was furnished with sufficient money. 

Upon returning home, I could not help reflecting 
with some astonishment how this very man, with 
such a confined education and capacity, was yet ca- 
pable of turning me as he thought proper, and mould- 
ing me to his inclinations ! I knew he was only an- 
swering his own purposes, even while he attempted 
to appear solicitous about mine ; yet, by a voluntary 
infatuation, a sort of passion compounded of vanity 
and good-nature, I walked into the snare with my 
eyes open, and put myself to future pain in order to 
give him immediate pleasure. The wisdom of the 
ignorant somewhat resembles the instinct of ani- 
mals ; it is diffused in but a very narrow sphere, but 
within that circle it acts with vigour, uniformity, and 
success. Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Preparations of both the Theatres for a Winter Campaign. 

The two theatres, which serve to amuse the citi- 
zens here, are again opened for the winter. The 
mimetic troops, different from those of the state, be- 
gin their campaign when all the others quit the field ; 
and at a time when the Europeans cease to destroy 
eaah other in reality, they are entertained with mock 
battles upon the stage. 

The dancing-master once more shakes his quiver- 



142 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



ing feet; the carpenter prepares his paradise of 
pasteboard ; the hero resolves to cover his forehead 
with brassy and the heroine begins to scour up her 
copper tail, preparative to farther operations ; in 
short, all are in motion, from the theatrical letter- 
carrier in yellow clothes, to Alexander the Great 
that stands on a stool. 

Both houses have already commenced hostilities. 
War, open war ! and no quarter received or given ! 
Two singing women, like heralds, have begun the 
contest ; the whole town is divided on this solemn 
occasion; one has the finest pipe, the other the 
finest manner ; one courtesies to the ground, the 
other salutes the audience with a smile ; one comes 
on with modesty which asks, the other with bold- 
ness which extorts applause ; one wears powder, the 
other has none ; one has the longest waist, but the 
other appears most easy ; all, all is important and 
serious ; the town, as yet, perseveres in its neutral- 
ity ; a cause of such moment demands the most ma- 
ture deliberation ; they continue to exhibit, and it is 
veiy possible this contest may continue to please to 
the end of the season. 

But the generals of either army have, as I am 
told, several re-enforcements to lend occasional as- 
sistance. If they produce a pair of diamond buckles 
at one house, we have a pair of eyebrows that can 
match them at the other. If we outdo them in our 
attitude, they can overcome us by a shrug ; if we 
can bring more children on the stage, they can bring 
more guards in red clothes, who strut and shoulder 
their swords to the astonishment of every spectator. 

They tell me here that people frequent the theatre 
in order to be instructed as well as amused. I smile 
to hear the assertion. If ever I go to one of their 
playhouses, what with trumpets, hallooing behind 
the stage, and bawling upon it, I am quite dizzy be- 
fore the performance is over. If I enter the house 
with any sentiments in my head, I am sure to have 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 143 

none on going away, the whole mind being filled with 
a dead march, a funeral procession, a cat-call, a jig, 
or a tempest. 

There is, perhaps, nothing more easy than to write 
properly for the English theatre : I am amazed that 
none are apprenticed to the trade. The author, 
when well acquainted with the value of thunder and 
lightning ; when versed in all the mystery of scene- 
shifting and trap-doors ; when skilled in the proper 
periods to introduce a wire- walker or a waterfall ; 
when instructed in every actor's peculiar talent, and 
capable of adapting his speeches to the supposed 
excellence ; when thus instructed, knows all that 
can give a modern audience pleasure. One play 
shines in an exclamation, another in a groan, a third 
in a horror, a fourth in a start, a fifth in a smile, a 
sixth faints, and a seventh fidgets round the stage 
with peculiar vivacity; that piece, therefore, will 
succeed best where each has a proper opportunity 
of shining : the actor's business is not so much to 
adapt himself to the poet, as the poet's to adapt him- 
self to the actor. 

The great secret, therefore, of tragedy-writing at 
present, is a perfect acquaintance with theatrical 
ah's and oh's ; a certain number of these, inter- 
spersed with gods ! tortures ! racks ! and damnation ! 
shall distort every actor almost into convulsions, 
and draw tears from every spectator ; a proper use 
of these will infallibly fill the whole house with ap-< 
plause. But, above all, a whining scene must strike 
most forcibly. I would advise, from my present 
knowledge of the audience, the two favourite players 
of the town to introduce a scene of this sort in every 
play. Towards the middle of the last act, I would 
have them enter with wild looks and outspread arms : 
there is no necessity for speaking ; they are only to 
groan at each other : they must vary the tones of 
exclamation and despair through the whole theatrical 
gamut, wring their figures into every shape of dis^ 



144 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

tress, and, when their calamities have drawn a prop- 
er quantity of tears from the sympathetic spectators, 
they ma3/ go off in dumb solemnity at different doors, 
clasping their hands or slapping their pocket-holes ; 
this, which may be called a tragic pantomime, will 
answer every purpose of moving the passions as 
well as words could have done, and it must save 
those expenses which go to reward an author. 

All modern plays that would keep the audience 
alive must be conceived in this manner; and, in- 
deed, many a modern play is made up on no other 
plan. This is the merit that lifts up the heart, like 
opium, into a rapture of insensibility, and can dis- 
miss the mind from all the fatigue of thinking : this 
is the eloquence that shines in many a long-forgot- 
ten scene, which has been reckoned excessive fine 
upon acting : this the lightning that flashes no less 
in the hyperbolical tyrant "who breakfasts on the 
wind," than in little Norval, " as harmless as the 
babe unborn." Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Sciences useful in a Populous State, prejudicial in a Bar- 
barous one. 

A dispute has for some time divided the philoso- 
phers of Europe ; it is debated whether arts and 
sciences are more serviceable or prejudicial to man- 
kind. They who maintain the cause of literature 
endeavour to prove their usefulness from the impos- 
sibility of a large number of men subsisting in a 
small tract of country without them ; from the pleas- 
ure which attends the acquisition ; and from the in- 
fluence of knowledge in promoting practical moral- 
ity. 

They who maintain the opposite opinion display 
the happiness and innocence of those uncultivated 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 145 

nations who live without learning ; urge the numer- 
ous vices which are to be found only in polished so- 
ciety ; enlarge upon the oppression, the cruelty, and 
the blood which must necessarily be shed in order 
to cement civil society ; and insist upon the happy 
equality of conditions in a barbarous state, prefera- 
ble to the unnatural subordination of a more refined 
constitution. 

This dispute, which has already given so much 
employment to speculative indolence, has been man- 
aged with much ardour, and (not to suppress our 
sentiments) with but little sagacity. They who in- 
sist that the sciences are useful in refined society 
are certainly right ; and they who maintain that bar- 
barous nations are more happy without them are 
right also ; but when one side, for this reason, at- 
tempts to prove them as universally useful to the 
solitary barbarian as to the native of a crowded 
commonwealth, or when the other endeavours to 
banish them, as prejudicial to all society, even from 
populous states as well as from the inhabitants of a 
wilderness, they are both wrong ; since that knowl- 
edge which makes the happiness of a refined Euro- 
pean would be a torment to the precarious tenant 
of an Asiatic wild. 

Let me, to prove this, transport the imagination 
for a moment to the midst of a forest in Siberia. 
There we behold the inhabitant poor indeed, 'but 
equally fond of happiness with the most refined 
philosopher of China. The earth lies uncultivated 
and uninhabited for miles around him, his little 
family and he the sole and undisputed possessors. 
In such circumstances, nature and reason will in- 
duce him to prefer a hunter's life to that of cultiva- 
ting the earth. He will certainly adhere to that 
manner of living which is carried on at the smallest 
expense of labour, and that food which is most 
agreeable to the appetite ; he will prefer indolent, 
though precarious luxury, to a laborious, though 

Vol. II.— N 



146 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

permanent competence ; and a knowledge of his 
own happiness will determine him to persevere in 
native barbarity. 

In like manner, his happiness will incline him to 
bind himself by no law ! Laws are made in order 
to secure present property ; but he is possessed of 
no property which he is afraid to lose, and desires 
no more than will be sufficient to sustain him ; to 
enter into compacts with others would be undergo- 
ing a voluntary obligation without the expectance 
of any reward. He and his countrymen are ten- 
ants, not rivals, in the same inexhaustible forest ; 
the increased possessions of one by no means di- 
minish the expectations arising from equal assiduity 
in another : there are no need of laws, therefore, to 
repress ambition, where there can be no mischief at- 
tending its most boundless gratification. 

Our solitary Siberian will, in like manner, find the 
sciences not only entirely useless in directing his 
practice, but disgusting even in speculation. In ev- 
ery contemplation, our curiosity must be first excited 
by the appearances of things, before our reason un- 
dergoes the fatigue of investigating the causes. 
Some of those appearances are produced by experi- 
ment, others by minute inquiry ; some arise from a 
knowledge of foreign climates, and others from an 
intimate study of our own. But there are few ob- 
jects in comparison which present themselves to 
the inhabitant of a barbarous country ; the game he 
hunts, or the transient cottage he builds, make up 
the chief objects of his concern ; curiosity, there- 
fore, must be proportionably less ; and, if that is 
diminished, the reasoning faculty will be diminished 
in proportion. 

Besides, sensual enjoyment adds wings to curiosi- 
ty. We consider few objects with ardent attention 
but those which have some connexion with our 
wishes, our pleasures, or our necessities. A desire 
of enjoyment first interests our passions in the pur- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 147 

suit, points out the object of investigation, and then 
reason comments where sense has led the way. An 
increase in the number of our enjoyments, there- 
fore, necessarily produces an increase of scientific 
research ; but, in countries where almost every en- 
joyment is wanting, reason there seems destitute 
of its great inspirer, and speculation is the business 
of fools when it becomes its own reward. 

The barbarous Siberian is too wise, therefore, to 
exhaust his time in quest of knowledge which nei- 
ther curiosity prompts nor pleasure impels him to 
pursue. When told of the exact admeasurement of 
a degree upon the equator at Quito, he feels no pleas- 
ure in the account ; when informed that such a dis- 
covery tends to promote navigation and commerce, 
he finds himself no way interested in either. A dis- 
covery which some have pursued at the hazard of 
their lives, affects him with neither astonishment 
nor pleasure. He is satisfied with thoroughly un- 
derstanding the few objects which contribute to his 
own felicity; he knows the properest places where 
to lay the snare for the sable, and discerns the value 
of furs with more than European sagacity. More 
extended knowledge would only serve to render him 
unhappy : it might lend a ray to show him the mis- 
ery of his situation, but could not guide him in his 
efforts to avoid it. Ignorance is the happiness of 
the poor. 

The misery of a being endowed with sentiments 
above its capacity of fruition is most admirably de- 
scribed in one of the fables of Locman, the Indian 
moralist. " An elephant, that had been peculiarly 
serviceable in fighting the battles of Wistnow, was 
ordered by the god to wish for whatever he thought 
proper, and the desire should be attended with im- 
mediate gratification. The elephant thanked his 
benefactor on bended knees, and desired to be en- 
dowed with the reason and faculties of a man. Wist- 
now was sorry to hear the foolish request, and en- 



148 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

deavoured to dissuade him from his misplaced am- 
bition ; but, finding it to no purpose, gave him at last 
such a portion of wisdom as could correct even the 
Zendavesta of Zoroaster. The reasoning elephant 
went aw T ay rejoicing in his new acquisition; and, 
though his body still retained its ancient form, he 
found his appetites and passions entirely altered. 
He first considered that it would not only be more 
comfortable, but also more becoming, to wear 
clothes ; but, unhappily, he had no methpd of making 
them himself, nor had he the use of speech to de- 
mand them from others, and this was the first time 
he felt real anxiety. He soon perceived how much 
more elegantly men were fed than he ; therefore he 
began to loathe his usual food, and longed for those 
delicacies which adorn the tables of princes ; but 
here again he found it impossible to be satisfied ; for, 
though he could easily obtain flesh, yet he found it 
impossible to dress it in any degree of perfection. 
In short, every pleasure that contributed to the feli- 
city of mankind served only to render him more 
miserable, as he found himself utterly deprived of 
the power of enjoyment. In this manner he led a 
repining, discontented life, detesting himself, and 
displeased with his 11 judged ambition ; till at last 
his benefactor, Wistnow, taking compassion on his 
forlorn situation, restored him to the ignorance and 
the happiness which he was originally formed to 
enjoy." 

No, my friend, to attempt to introduce the scien- 
ces into a nation of wandering barbarians is only to 
render them more miserable than even nature de- 
signed they should be. A life of simplicity is best 
fitted to a state of solitude. 

The great lawgiver of Russia attempted to im- 
prove the desolate inhabitants of Siberia by sending 
among them some of the politest men of Europe. 
The consequence has shown that the country was 
as yet unfit to receive them ; they languished for a 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 149 

time with a sort of exotic malady ; every day de- 
generated from themselves ; and, at last, instead of 
rendering the country more polite, they conformed 
to the soil, and put on barbarity. 

No, my friend, in order to make the sciences use- 
ful in any country, it must first become populous ; 
the inhabitants must go through the different stages 
of hunter, shepherd, and husbandman : then, when 
property becomes valuable, and, consequently, gives 
cause for injustice ; then, when laws are appointed 
to repress injury and secure possession ; when men, 
by the sanction of these laws, become possessed of 
superfluity ; when luxury is thus introduced, and de- 
mands its continual supply, then it is that the sci- 
ences become necessary and useful ; the state then 
cannot subsist without them ; they must then be in- 
troduced, at once to teach men to draw the greatest 
possible quantity of pleasure from circumscribed 
possession, and to restrain them within the bounds 
of moderate enjoyment. 

The sciences are not the cause of luxury, but its 
consequence ; and this destroyer thus brings with it 
an antidote which resists the virulence of its own 
poison. By asserting that luxury introduces the 
sciences, we assert a truth ; but if, with those who 
reject the utility of learning, we assert that the sci- 
ences also introduce luxury, we shall be at once 
false, absurd, and ridiculous. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT 
OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA. 

Anecdotes of several Poets who lived and died in circumstan- 
ces of great Wretchedness. 

I fancy the character of a poet is in every coun- 
try the same, fond of enjoying the present, careless 
of the future ; his conversation that of a man of 

N2 



150 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

sense, his actions those of a fool ; of fortitude able 
to stand unmoved at the bursting of an earthquake, 
yet of sensibility to be affected by the breaking of a 
teacup. Such is his character, which, considered 
in every light, is the very opposite of that which 
leads to riches. 

The poets of the West are as remarkable for their 
indigence as their genius ; and yet, among the nu- 
merous hospitals designed to relieve the poor, I have 
heard of but one erected for the benefit of decayed 
authors. This was founded by Pope Urban VIII., 
and called the retreat of the incurables, intimating 
that it was equally impossible to reclaim the patients 
who sued for reception from poverty or from poe- 
try. To be sincere, were I to send you an account 
of the lives of the Western poets, either ancient or 
modern, I fancy you would think me employed in 
collecting materials for a history of human wretch- 
edness. 

Homer is the first poet and beggar of note among 
the ancients ; he was blind, and sung his ballads 
about the streets ; but it is observed that his mouth 
was more frequently filled with verses than with 
bread. Plautus, the comic poet, was better off ; he 
had two trades ; he was a poet for his diversion, and 
helped to turn a mill in order to gain a livelihood. 
Terence was a slave, and Boethius died in a jail. 

Among the Italians, Paulo Borghese, almost as 
good a poet as Tasso, knew fourteen different trades, 
and yet died because he could get employment in 
none. Tasso himself, who had the most amiable 
character of all poets, has often been obliged to bor- 
row a crown from some friend in order to pay for 
a month's subsistence. He has left us a pretty son- 
net addressed to his cat, in which he begs the light 
of her eyes to write by, being too poor to afford 
himself a candle. But Bentivoglio, poor Bentivog- 
lio ! chiefly demands our pity. His comedies will 
last with the Italian language ; he dissipated a noble 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 151 

fortune in acts of charity and benevolence ; but, fall- 
ing into misery in his old age, was refused admit- 
tance into a hospital which he himself had erected. 

In Spain, it is said the great Cervantes died of 
hunger ; and it is certain that the famous Camoens 
ended his days in a hospital. 

If we turn to France, we shall there find even 
stronger instances of the ingratitude of the public. 
Vaugelas, one of the politest writers and one of the 
honestest men of his time, was surnamed the owl, 
from his being obliged to keep within all day and 
venture out only by night, through fear of his cred- 
itors. His last will is very remarkable ; after hav- 
ing bequeathed all his worldly substance to the dis- 
charging of his debts, he goes on thus ; " but as 
there may still remain some creditors unpaid even 
after all that I have shall be disposed of, in such a 
case it is my last will that my body should be sold 
to the surgeons to the best advantage, and that the 
purchase should go to the discharging those debts 
which I owe to society ; so that, if I could not while 
living, at least when dead I may be useful." 

Cassander was one of the greatest geniuses of his 
time, yet all his merit could not procure him a bare 
subsistence. Being by degrees driven into a hatred 
of all mankind from the little pity he found among 
them, he even ventured at last, ungratefully, to im- 
pute his calamities to Providence. In his last ago- 
nies, when the priest entreated him to rely on the 
justice of Heaven, and ask mercy from him that 
made him, " If God," replies he, " has shown me no 
justice here, what reason have I to expect any from 
him hereafter]" But being answered that a sus- 
pension of justice was no argument that should in- 
duce us to doubt of its reality, " Let me entreat 
you," continued his confessor, " by all that is dear, 
to be reconciled to God, your father, your maker, 
and friend." " No," replied the exasperated wretch, 
" you know the manner in which he left me to live 



152 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

(and, pointing to the straw on which he was stretch- 
ed), and you see the manner in which he leaves me 
to die !" 

But the sufferings of the poet in other countries 
is nothing when compared to his distresses here ; 
the names of Spenser and Otway, Butler and Dry- 
den, are every day mentioned as a national reproach ; 
some of them lived in a state of precarious indi- 
gence, and others literally died of hunger. 

At present, the few poets of England no longer 
depend on the great for subsistence ; they have now 
no other patrons but the public, and the public, col- 
lectively considered, is a good and generous master. 
It is, indeed, too frequently mistaken as to the mer- 
its of every candidate for favour ; but, to make 
amends, it is never mistaken long. A performance, 
indeed, may be forced for a time into reputation, but, 
destitute of real merit, it soon sinks ; time, the 
touchstone of what is truly valuable, will soon dis- 
cover the fraud, and an author should never arro- 
gate to himself any share of success till his works 
have been read at least ten years with satisfaction. 

A man of letters at present, whose works are val- 
uable, is perfectly sensible of their value. Every 
polite member of the community, by buying what 
he writes, contributes to reward him. The ridicule, 
therefore, of living in a garret might have been wit 
in the last age, but continues such no longer, because 
no longer true. A writer of real merit now may 
easily be rich, if his heart be set only on fortune ; 
and for those who have no merit, it is but fit that 
such should remain in merited obscurity. He may 
now refuse an invitation to dinner without fearing 
his patron's displeasure, or to starve by remaining 
at home. He may now venture to appear in com- 
pany with just such clothes as other men generally 
wear, and talk even to princes with all the conscious 
superiority of wisdom. Though he cannot boast of 
fortune here, yet he can bravely assert the dignity 
of independence. Adieu. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 153 



FROM THE SAME. 

The trifling Squabbles of Stage-players Ridiculed. 

I have interested myself so long in all the con- 
cerns of this people, that I am almost become an 
Englishman ; 1 now begin to read with pleasure of 
their taking towns or gaining battles, and secretly 
wish disappointment to all the enemies of Britain. 
Yet still my regard to mankind fills me with concern 
for their contentions. I could wish to see the dis- 
turbances of Europe once more amicably adjusted. 
I am an enemy to nothing in this good world but 
war ; I hate fighting between rival states ; I hate it 
between man and man ; I hate fighting even between 
women ! 

I already informed you, that, while Europe was 
at variance, we were also threatened from the stage 
with an irreconcilable opposition, and that our sing- 
ing women were resolved to sing at each other to 
the end of the season. Oh, my friend, those fears 
were just. They are not only determined to sing 
at each other to the end of the season, but, what is 
worse, to sing the same song, and, what is still more 
insupportable, to make us pay for hearing. 

If they be for war, for my part I should advise 
them to have a public congress, and there fairly 
squall to each other. What signifies sounding the 
trumpet of defiance at a distance, and calling in the 
town to fight their battles. I would have them come 
boldly into one of the most open and frequented 
streets, face to face, and there to try their skill in 
quavering. 

However this may be, resolved I am that they 
shall not touch one single piece of silver more of 
mine. Though I have ears for music, thanks to 
Heaven, they are not altogether asses 1 ears. What ! 
Polly and the Pickpocket to-night, Polly and the 



154 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

Pickpocket to-morrow night, and Polly and the Pick- 
pocket again ! I want patience. I'll hear no more. 
My soul is out of time. All jarring discord and con- 
fusion. Rest, rest, ye three dear clinking shillings 
in my pocket's bottom ; the music you make is more 
harmonious to my spirit than catgut, rosin, or all the 
nightingales that ever chirruped in petticoats. 

But what raises my indignation to the greatest de- 
gree is, that this piping does not only pester me on 
the stage, but is my punishment in private conver- 
sation. What is it to me whether the line pipe of 
one, or the great manner of the other, be preferable 1 
What care I if one has a better top, or the other a 
nobler bottom ? How am I concerned if one sings 
from the stomach, or the other sings with a snap ? 
Yet, paltry as these matters are, they make a sub- 
ject of debate wherever I go ; and this musical dis- 
pute, especially among the fair sex, almost always 
ends in a very unmusical altercation. 

Sure the spirit of contention is mixed with the 
very constitution of the people ; divisions among the 
inhabitants of other countries arise only from their 
higher concerns ; but subjects the most contemptible 
are made an affair of party here ; the spirit is carried 
even into their amusements. The very ladies, 
whose duty should seem to allay the impetuosity of 
the opposite sex, become themselves party champi- 
ons, engage in the tricks of the fight, scold at each 
other, and show their courage even at the expense 
of their lovers and their beauty. 

There are even a numerous set of poets who help 
to keep up the contention and write for the stage. 
Mistake me not, I do not mean pieces to be acted 
upon it, but panegyrical verses on the performers ; 
for that is the most universal method of writing for 
the stage at present. It is the business of the stage 
poet, therefore, to watch the appearance of everv 
new player at his own house, and so come out next 
day with a flaunting copy of newspaper verses. In 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 155 

these, nature and the actor may be set to run races, 
the player always coining off victorious ; or nature 
may mistake him for herself; or old Shakspeare 
may put on his winding-sheet, and pay him a visit ; 
or the tuneful nine may strike up their harps in his 
praise ; or, should it happen to be an actress, Venus, 
the beauteous queen of love, and the naked Graces, 
are ever in waiting : the lady must be herself a god- 
dess bred and born ;'she must — but you shall have a 
specimen of one of these poems, which may convey 
a more precise idea. 

ON SEEING MRS. PERFORM IN THE CHARACTER OF . 

" To you, bright fair, the nine address their lays, 
And tune my feeble voice to sing thy praise. 
The heartfelt power of every charm divine, 
Who can withstand their all-commanding shine ? 
See how she moves along with every grace, 
While soul-bought tears steal down each shining face ! 
She speaks, 'tis rapture all and nameless bliss ; 
Ye gods, what transport e'er compared to this I 
As when, in Paphian groves, the queen of love, 
With fond complaint address'd the list'ning Jove, 
'Twas joy and endless blisses all around, 
And rocks forgot their hardness at the sound. 
Then first, at last e'en Jove was taken in, 
And felt her charms, without disguise, within." 

And yet think not, my friend, that I have any par- 
ticular animosity against the champions who are at 
the head of the present commotion ; on the contra- 
ry, I could find pleasure in the music if served up 
at proper intervals ; if I heard it only on proper oc- 
casions, and not about it wherever I go. In fact, I 
could patronise them both ; and, as an instance of 
my condescension in this particular, they may come 
and give me a song at my lodgings on any evening 
when I'm at leisure, provided they keep a becoming 
distance, and stand, while they continue to entertain 
me, with decent humility, at the door. 

You perceive I have not read the seventeen books 
of Chinese ceremonies to no purpose. I know the 



156 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

proper share of respect due to every rank of socie- 
ty. ~ Stage-players, fire-eaters, singing-women, dan- 
cing-dogs, wild beasts, and wire-walkers, as their 
efforts are exerted for our amusement, ought not 
entirely to be despised. The laws of every coun- 
try should allow them to play their tricks at least 
with impunity. They should not be branded with 
the ignominious appellation of vagabonds ; at least, 
they deserve a rank in society equal to the mystery 
of barbers or undertakers ; and, could my influence 
extend so far, they should be allowed to earn even 
forty or fifty pounds a year, if eminent in their pro- 
fession. 

I am sensible, however, that you will censure me 
of profusion in this respect, bred up, as you are, in 
the narrow prejudices of Eastern frugality. You 
will undoubtedly assert that such a stipend is too 
great for so useless an employment. Yet how will 
your surprise increase when told that, though the 
law holds them as vagabonds, many of them earn 
more than a thousand a year ! You are amazed. 
There is cause for amazement. A vagabond with 
a thousand a year is indeed a curiosity in nature ; 
a wonder far surpassing the flying fish, petrified 
crab, or travelling lobster. However, from my 
great love to the profession, I would willingly have 
them divested of their contempt and part of their 
finery ; the law should kindly take them under the 
wing of protection, fix them into a corporation like 
that of the barbers, and abridge their ignominy and 
their pensions. As to their abilities in other re- 
spects, I would leave that entirely to the public, 
who are certainly, in this case, the properest judges, 
whether they despise them or not. 

Yes, my Fum, 1 would abridge their pensions. A 
theatrical warrior, who conducts the battles of the 
stage, should be cooped up with the same caution as 
a Bantam cock that is kept for fighting. When one 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 157 

of those animals is taken from its native dunghill, 
we retrench it both in the quantity of its food and 
the number of its seraglio : players should in the 
same manner be fed, not fattened ; they should be 
permitted to get their bread, but not eat the peoole's 
into the bargain. 

Were stage-players thns brought into bonds, per- 
haps we should find their admirers less sanguine, 
and, consequently, less ridiculous in patronising 
them. We should be h d longer struck with the ab- 
surdity of seeing the same people, whose valour 
makes such a figure abroad, apostrophizing in the 
praise of a bouncing blockhead, and wrangling in 
the defence of a copper-tailed actress at home. 

I shall conclude my letter with the sensible admo- 
nition of Me the philosopher. " You love harmo- 
ny," says he, " and are charmed with music. I do 
not blame you for hearing a fine voice when you 
are in your closet, with a lovely parterre under your 
eye, or in the night-time, while perhaps the moon 
diffuses her silver rays. But is a man to carry this 
passion so far as to let a company of comedians, 
musicians, and singers grow rich upon his exhaust- 
ed fortune ? If so, he resembles one of those dead 
bodies whose brains the embalmers have picked out 
through its ears." Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Races of Newmarket ridiculed.— The Description of a 

Cartrace. 

Of all the places of amusement where gentlemen 
and ladies are entertained, I have not been yet to 
visit Newmarket. This, I am told, is a large field, 
where, upon certain occasions, three or four horses 

Vol. II.— O 



158 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

are brought together, then set a running, and that 
horse which runs the swiftest wins the wager. 

This is reckoned a very polite and fashionable 
amusement here, much more followed by the nobili- 
ty than partridge fighting at Java, or paper-kites in 
Madagascar. Several of the great here, I am told, 
understand as much of farriery as their grooms ; and 
a horse with any share of merit can never want a 
patron among the nobility. 

We have a description of this entertainment al- 
most every day in some of the gazettes, as for in- 
stance : " On such a day the Give and Take Plate 
was run for between his grace's Crab, his lordship's 
Periwinkle, and Squire Smackem's Slamerkin. All 
rode their own horses. There was the greatest 
concourse of nobility that has been known here for 
several seasons. The odds were in favour of Crab 
in the beginning ; but Slamerkin, after the first heat, 
seemed to have the match hollow : however, it was 
soon seen that Periwinkle improved in wind, which 
at last turned out accordingly; Crab was run to a 
stand still, Slamerkin was knocked up, and Peri- 
winkle was brought in with universal applause." 
Thus, you see, Periwinkle received universal ap- 
plause ; and no doubt his lordship came in for some 
share of that praise which was so liberally bestowed 
upon Periwinkle. Sun of China ! how glorious 
must the senator appear in his cap and leather 
breeches, his whip crossed in his mouth, and thus 
coming to the goal among the shouts of grooms, 
jockeys, pimps, stable-bred dukes, and degraded 
generals ! 

From the description of this princely amusement, 
now transcribed, and from the great veneration I 
have for the characters of its principal promoters, I 
make no doubt but I shall look upon a horserace 
with becoming reverence, predisposed as I am by a 
similar amusement of which I have lately been a 
spectator, for just now I happened to have an op- 
portunity of being present at a cartrace. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 159 

Whether this contention between three carts of 
different parishes was promoted by a subscription 
among the nobility, or whether the grand jury, in 
council assembled, had gloriously combined to en- 
courage plaustral merit, I cannot take upon me to 
determine ; but, certain it is, the whole was Con- 
ducted with the utmost regularity and decorum ; 
and the company, which made a brilliant appearance, 
were universally of opinion that the sport was high, 
the running fine, and the riders influenced by no 
bribe. 

It was run on the road from London to a village 
called Brentford, between a turnip-cart, a dust-cart, 
and a dung-cart, each of the owners condescending 
to mount and be his own driver. The odds at start- 
ing were Dust against Dung five to four ; but, after 
half a mile's going, the knowing ones found them- 
selves all on the wrong side, and it was Turnip 
against the field, brass to silver. 

Soon, however, the contest became more doubt- 
ful ; Turnip indeed kept the way, but it was per- 
ceived that Dung had better bottom. The road re- 
echoed with the shouts of the spectators. " Dung 
against Turnip ! Turnip against Dung !" was now 
the universal cry ; neck and neck ; one rode lighter, 
but the other had more judgment. I could not but 
particularly observe the ardour with which the fair 
sex espoused the cause of the different riders on this 
occasion ; one was charmed with the unwashed 
beauties of Dung ; another was captivated with the 
patibulary aspect of Turnip ; while, in the mean time, 
unfortunate, gloomy Dust, who came whipping be- 
hind, was cheered by the encouragement of some, 
and pity of all, 

The contention now continued for some time, with- 
out a possibility of determining to whom victory de- 
signed the prize. The winning-post appeared in 
view, and he who drove the turnip-cart assured him- 
self of success ; and successful he might have been 



160 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

had his horse been as ambitious as he ; but, upon 
approaching a turn from the road which led home- 
ward, the horse fairly stood still, and refused to 
move a foot farther. The dung-cart had scarcely- 
time to enjoy this temporary triumph, when it was 
pitched headlong into a ditch by the wayside, and 
the rider left to wallow in congenial mud. Dust, in 
the mean time, soon came up ; and, not being far 
from the post, came in amid the shouts and accla- 
mations of all the spectators, and greatly caressed 
by all the quality of Brentford. Fortune was kind 
only to one, who ought to have been favourable to 
all ; e? ch had peculiar merit, each laboured hard to 
earn t'ae prize, and each richly deserved the cart he 
drove. 

I do not know whether this description may not 
have anticipated that which I intended giving of 
Newmarket. I am told there is little else to be seen 
even there. There maybe some minute differences 
in the dress of the spectators, but none at all in their 
understandings ; the quality of Brentford are as re- 
markable for politeness and delicacy as the breeders 
of Newmarket. The quality of Brentford drive their 
carts, and the honourable fraternity of Newmarket 
ride their own horses. In short, the matches in one 
place are as rational as those in the other ; and it is 
more than probable that turnips, dust, and dung are 
all that can be found to furnish out description in 
either. 

Forgive me, my friend ; but a person like me, bred 
up in a philosophic seclusion, is apt to regard, per- 
haps, with too much asperity, those occurrences 
which sink man below his station in nature, and di- 
minish the intrinsic value of humanity. Adieu. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 161 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRES- 
IDENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN 
CHINA. 

The Ladies Advised to get Husbands.— A Story to the purpose. 

As the instruction of the fair sex in this country- 
is entirely committed to the care of foreigners ; as 
their language-masters, music-masters, hair-frizzers, 
and governesses are all from abroad, I had some in- 
tentions of opening a female academy myself, and 
made no doubt, as I was quite a foreigner, of meet- 
ing a favourable reception. 

In this I intended to instruct the ladies in all the 
conjugal mysteries. Wives should be taught the art 
of managing husbands, and maids the skill of prop- 
erly choosing them. I would teach a wife how far 
she might venture to be sick without giving disgust : 
she should be acquainted with the great benefits of 
the colic in the stomach, and all the thorough-bred 
insolence of fashion. Maids should learn the secret of 
nicely distinguishing every competitor : they should 
be able to know the difference between a pedant and 
a scholar, a citizen and a prig, a squire and his horse, 
a beau and his monkey ; but, chiefly, they should be 
taught the art of managing their smiles, from the 
contemptuous simper to the long, laborious laugh. 

But I have discontinued the project ; for what 
would signify teaching ladies the manner of govern- 
ing or choosing husbands, when marriage is at pres- 
ent so much out of fashion, that a lady is very well 
off who can get any husband at all. Celibacy now 
prevails in every rank of life ; the streets are crowd- 
ed with old bachelors, and the houses with ladies 
who have refused good offers, and are never likely 
to receive any for the future. 

The only adviee, therefore, I could give the fair 
sex, as things stand at present, is to get husbands as 

02 



162 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

fast as they can. There is certainly nothing in the 
whole creation, not even Babylon in ruins, more 
truly deplorable than a lady in the virgin bloom of 
sixty -three, or a battered unmarried beau, who squibs 
about from place to place, showing his pigtail wig 
and his ears. The one appears to my imagination 
in the form of a double nightcap or a roll of poma- 
tum, the other in the shape of an electuary or a box 
of pills. 

I would once more, therefore, advise the ladies to 
get husbands. I would desire them not to discard 
an old lover without very sufficient reasons, nor treat 
the new with ill-nature till they know him false. Let 
not prudes allege the falseness of the sex, coquettes 
the pleasures of long courtship, or parents the ne- 
cessary preliminaries of penny for penny. I have 
reasons that would silence even a casuist in this 
particular. In the first place, therefore, I divide the 
subject into fifteen heads, and then, "sic argument- 
or ;" but, not to give you and myself the spleen, be 
contented at present with an Indian tale. 

In a winding of the river Amidar, just before it 
falls into the Caspian Sea, there lies an island unfre- 
quented by the inhabitants of the Continent. In 
this seclusion, blessed with all that wild, uncultiva- 
ted nature could bestow, lived a princess and her 
two daughters. She had been wrecked upon the 
coast while her children as yet were infants, who, 
of consequence, though grown up, were entirely un- 
acquainted with man. Yet, unexperienced as the 
young ladies were in the opposite sex, both early 
discovered symptoms, the one of prudery, the other 
of being a coquette. The eldest was ever learning 
maxims of wisdom and discretion from her mamma, 
while the youngest employed all her hours in gazing 
at her own face in a neighbouring fountain. 

Their usual amusement in this solitude was fish- 
ing : their mother had taught them all the secrets of 
the art : she showed them which were the most like- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 163 

ly places to throw out the line ; what baits were most 
proper for the various seasons ; and the best manner 
to draw up the finny prey when they had hooked it. 
In this manner they spent their time, easy and inno- 
cent, till one day the princess, being indisposed, de- 
sired them to go and catch her a sturgeon or a shark 
for supper, which she fancied might sit easy on her 
stomach. The daughters obeyed ; and, clapping on 
a goldfish, the usual bait on these occasions, went 
and sat upon one of the rocks, letting the gilded 
hook glide down with the stream. 

On the opposite shore, farther down, at the mouth 
of the river, lived a diver for pearls, a youth who, by 
long habit in his trade, was almost grown amphibi- 
ous, so that he could remain whole hours at the 
bottom of the water without ever fetching breath. 
He happened to be at that very instant diving when 
the ladies were fishing with the gilded hook. See- 
ing, therefore, the bait, which to him had the appear- 
ance of real gold, he was resolved to seize the prize ; 
but, both hands being already filled with pearl oys- 
ters, he found himself obliged to snap at it with his 
mouth. The consequence is easily imagined ; the 
hook, before unperceived, was instantly fastened in 
his jaw; nor could he, with all his efforts or his 
floundering, get free. 

" Sister," cries the youngest princess, " I have 
certainly caught a monstrous fish ; I never perceiv- 
ed anything struggle so at the end of my line before ; 
come and help me to draw it in." They both now, 
therefore, assisted in fishing up the diver on shore ; 
but nothing could equal their surprise upon seeing 
him. " Bless my eyes," cries the prude, " what have 
we got here ? This is a very odd fish, to be sure ! I 
never saw anything in my life so queer ! What eyes ! 
what terrible claws! what a monstrous snout! I 
have read of this monster somewhere before : it 
certainly must be a tanglang, that eats women. Let 
us throw it back into the sea where we found it." 



164 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

The diver, in the mean time, stood upon the beach 
at the end of the line, with the hook in his mouth, 
using every art that he thought could best excite 
pity, and particularly looking extremely tender, 
which is usual in such circumstances. The co- 
quette, therefore, in some measure influenced by the 
innocence of his looks, ventured to contradict her 
companion. " Upon my word, sister," says she, " I 
see nothing in the animal so very terrible as you are 
pleased to apprehend. I think it may serve well 
enough for a change. Always sharks, and stur- 
geons, and lobsters, and crawfish make me quite 
sick. I fancy a slice of this, nicely grilladed, and 
dressed up with shrimp-sauce, would be very pretty 
eating. I fancy mamma would like a bit with pickles 
above all things in the world : and, if it should not 
sit easy on her stomach, it will be time enough to 
discontinue it when found disagreeable, you know." 
" Horrid !" cries the prude ; " would the girl be poi- 
soned. I tell you it is a taglang. I have read of it 
in twenty places. It is everywhere described as 
the most pernicious animal that ever infested the 
ocean. I am certain it is the most insidious, raven- 
ous creature in the world ; and is certain destruction 
if taken internally." The youngest sister was now, 
therefore, obliged to submit : both assisted in draw- 
ing the hook, with some violence, from the diver's 
jaw; and he, finding himself at liberty, bent his 
breast against the broad wave, and disappeared in 
an instant. 

Just at this juncture the mother came down to 
the beach to know the cause of her daughters' de- 
lay. They told her every circumstance, describing 
the monster they had caught. The old lady was 
one of the most discreet women in the world. She 
was called the black-eyed princess, from two black 
eyes she had received in her youth, being a little ad- 
dicted to boxing in her liquor. " Alas, my children !" 
cries she, " what have you done T The fish you caught 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 165 

was a manfish ; one of the most tame domestic ani- 
mals in the world. We could have let him run and 
play about the garden, and he would have been 
twenty times more entertaining than our squirrel or 
monkey." " If that be all," says the young coquette, 
" we will fish for him again. If that be all, I will 
hold three toothpicks to one pound of snuff I catch 
him whenever I please." Accordingly, they threw 
in their line once more ; but, with all their gilding, 
and paddling, and assiduity, they could never after 
catch the diver. In this state of solitude and disap- 
pointment they continued for many years, still fish- 
ing, but without success ; till, at last, the genius of 
the place, in pity for their distress, changed the 
prude into a shrimp and the coquette into an oys- 
ter. Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Folly of remote or useless Distinctions among the Learned. 

I am amused, my dear Fum, with the labours of 
some of the learned here. One shall write you a 
whole folio on the dissection of a caterpillar. An- 
other shall swell his works with a description of the 
plumage on the wing of a butterfly ; a third shall see 
a little world on a peach-leaf, and publish a book to 
describe what his readers might see more clearly in 
two minutes, only by being furnished with eyes and 
a microscope. 

I have frequently compared the understandings of 
such men to their own glasses. Their field of vis- 
ion is too contracted to take in the whole of any but 
minute objects ; they view all nature bit by bit ; now 
the proboscis, now the antennae, now the pinnae of— 
a flea. Now the polypus comes to breakfast upon 
a worm ; now it is kept up to see how long it will 
live without eating ; now it is turned inside outward ; 



166 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

and now it sickens and dies. Thus they proceed, 
laborious in trifles, constant in experiment, without 
one single abstraction, by which alone knowledge 
may be properly said to increase ; till, at last, their 
ideas, ever employed upon minute things, contract 
to the size of the diminutive object, and a single mite 
shall fill their whole mind's capacity. - 

Yet, believe me, my friend, ridiculous as these 
men are to the world, they are set up as objects of 
esteem for each other. They have particular places 
appointed for their meetings, in which one shows 
his cockle-sheli, and is praised by all the society ; 
another produces his powder, makes some experi- 
ments that result in nothing, and comes off with ad- 
miration and applause ; a third comes out with the 
important discovery of some new process in the 
skeleton of a mole, and is set down as the accurate 
and sensible ; while one, still more fortunate than 
the rest, by pickling, potting, and preserving mon- 
sters, rises into unbounded reputation. 

The labours of such men, instead of being calcula- 
ted to amuse the public, are laid out only for divert- 
ing each other. The world becomes very little the 
better or the wiser for knowing what is the pecu- 
liar food of an insect, that is itself the food of an- 
other, which, in its turn, is eaten by a third. But 
there are men who have studied themselves into a 
habit of investigating and admiring such minutiae. 
To these such objects are pleasing, as there are 
some who contentedly spend whole days in- endeav- 
ouring to solve enigmas, or disentangle the puzzling 
sticks of children. 

But, of all the learned, those who pretend to in- 
vestigate remote antiquity have least to plead in 
their own defence when they carry this passion to 
a faulty excess. They are generally found to sup- 
ply by conjecture the want of record; and then, by 
perseverance, are wrought up into a confidence of 
the truth of opinions, which even to themselves ap- 
peared founded only in imagination. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 167 

The Europeans have heard much of the kingdom 
of China : its politeness, arts, commerce, laws, and 
morals are, however, but very imperfectly known 
among them. They have even now in their Indian 
warehouses numberless utensils, plants, minerals, 
and machines, of the use of which they are entirely 
ignorant; nor can any among them even make a 
probable guess for what they might have been de- 
signed. Yet, though this people be so ignorant of 
the present real state of China, the philosophers I 
am describing have entered into long, learned, labo- 
rious disputes about what China was two thousand 
years ago. China and European happiness are but 
little connected even at this day ; but European hap- 
piness, and China two thousand years ago, have cer- 
tainly no connexion at all. However, the learned 
have written on and pursued the subject through all 
the labyrinths of antiquity ; though the early dews 
and the tainted gale be passed away, though no foot- 
steps remain to direct the doubtful chase, yet still 
they run forward, open upon the uncertain scent, and 
though, in fact, they follow nothing, are earnest in the 
pursuit. In this chase, however, they all take dif- 
ferent ways. One, for example, confidently assures 
us that China was peopled by a colony from Egypt. 
Sesostris, he observes, led his army as far as the 
Ganges ; therefore, if he went so far, he might still 
have gone as far as China, which is but a thousand 
miles from thence ; therefore he did go to China ; 
therefore China was not peopled before he went 
there ; therefore it was peopled by him. Besides, 
the Egyptians have pyramids ; the Chinese have, in 
like manner, their porcelain tower : the Egyptians 
used to light up candles upon every rejoicing, the 
Chinese have lanterns upon the same occasion : the 
Egyptians had their great river, so have the Chi- 
nese ; but what serves to put the matter past a doubt 
is, that the ancient kings of China and those of Egypt 
were called by the same names. The Emperor Ki 



168 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

is certainly the same with King Atoes ; for, if we 
only change K into A, and i into toes, we shall have 
the name Atoes ; and, with equal ease, Menes may 
be proved to be the same with the Emperor Yu ; 
therefore the Chinese are a colony from Egypt. 

But another of the learned is entirely different 
from the last : and he will have the Chinese to be a 
colony planted by Noah just after the deluge. First, 
from the vast similitude there is between the name 
of Fohi, the founder of the Chinese monarchy, and 
that of Noah, the preserver of the human race; 
Noah, Fohi, very like each other, truly ; they have 
each but four letters, and only two of the four hap- 
pen to differ. But, to strengthen the argument, Fohi, 
as the Chinese chronicle asserts, had no father. 
Noah, it is true, had a father, as the European Bible 
tells us ; but, then, as this father was probably drown- 
ed in the flood, it is just the same as if he had no fa- 
ther at all ; therefore Noah and Fohi are the same. 
Just after the flood, the earth was covered with mud ; 
if it was covered with mud, it must have been in- 
crustated mud ; if it was incrustated, it was clothed 
with verdure ; this was a fine, unembarrassed road 
for Noah to fly from his wicked children ; he there- 
fore did fly from them, and took a journey of two 
thousand miles for his own amusement ; therefore 
Noah and Fohi are. the same. 

Another sect of literati — for they all pass among 
the vulgar for very great scholars — assert that the 
Chinese came neither from the colony of Sesostris 
nor from Noah, but are descended from Magog, Me- 
shec, and Tubal ; and, therefore, neither Sesostris, 
nor Noah, nor Fohi is the same. 

It is thus, my friend, that indolence assumes the 
airs of wisdom ; and, while it tosses the cup and 
ball with infantine folly, desires the world to look 
on, and calls the stupid pastime philosophy and 
learning. Adieu. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 169 



FROM THE SAME. 

The English subject to the Spleen. 

When the men of this country are once turned of 
thirty, they regularly retire every year at proper in- 
tervals to lie in of the spleen. The vulgar, unfur- 
nished with the luxurious comforts of the soft cush- 
ion, down bed, and easy chair, are obliged, when the 
fit is on them, to nurse it up by drinking, idleness, 
and ill-humour. In such dispositions, unhappy is 
the foreigner who happens to cross them ; his long 
chin, tarnished coat, or pinched hat are sure to re- 
ceive no quarter. If they meet no foreigner, how- 
ever, to fight with, they are in such cases generally 
content with beating each other. 

The rich, as they have more sensibility, are oper- 
ated upon with greater violence by this disorder. 
Different from the poor, instead of becoming more 
insolent, they grow totally unfit for opposition. A 
general here, who would have faced a culverin when 
well, if the fit be on him, shall hardly find courage 
to snuff a candle. An admiral, who could have op- 
posed a broadside without shrinking, shall sit whole 
days in his chamber, mobbed up in double night- 
caps, shuddering at the intrusive breeze, and distin- 
guishable from his wife only by his black beard and 
heavy eyebrows. 

In the country this disorder mostly attacks the 
fair sex; in town it is most unfavourable to the 
men. A lady, who has pined whole years amid 
cooing doves and complaining nightingales in rural 
retirement, shall resume all her vivacity in one 
night at a city gaming-table ; her husband, who 
roared, hunted, and got drunk at home, shall grow 
splenetic in town in proportion to his wife's good- 
humour. Upon their arrival in London they change 
their disorders. In consequence of her parties and 

Vol. II.— P 



170 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

excursions, he puts on the furred cap and scarlet 
stomacher, and perfectly resembles an Indian hus- 
band, who, when his wife is safely delivered, per- 
mits her to transact business abroad, while he un- 
dergoes all the formality of keeping his bed, and re- 
ceiving all the condolence in her place. 

But those who reside constantly in town owe this 
disorder mostly to the influence of the weather. It 
is impossible to describe what a variety of transmu- 
tations an east wind shall produce. It has been 
known to change a lady of fashion into a parlour 
couch ; an alderman into a plate of custard ; and a 
dispenser of justice into a rattrap. Even philoso- 
phers themselves are not exempt from its influ- 
ence. It has often converted a poet into a coral and 
bells, and a patriot senator into a dumb waiter. 

Some days ago I went to visit the man in black, 
and entered his house with that cheerfulness which 
the certainty of a favourable reception always in- 
spires. Upon opening the door of his apartment, I 
found him with the most rueful face imaginable, in 
a morning-gown and flannel nightcap, earnestly em- 
ployed in learning to blow the German flute. Struck 
with the absurdity of a man in the decline of life 
thus blowing away all his constitution and spirits, 
even without the consolation of being musical, I 
ventured to ask what could induce him to attempt 
learning so difficult an instrument so late in life. To 
this he made no reply ; but, groaning, and still hold- 
ing the flute to his lips, continued to gaze at me 
for some moments very angrily, and then proceeded 
to practise his gamut as before. After having pro- 
duced a variety of the most hideous tones in nature, 
at last, turning to me, he demanded whether I did 
not think he made a surprising progress in two 
days. " You see," continues he, " I have got the 
ambusheer already ; and, as for fingering, my mas- 
ter tells me I shall have that in a few lessons more." 
I was so much astonished with this instance of in- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 171 

i 

verted ambition, that I knew not what to reply, but 
soon discerned the cause of all his absurdities ; my 
friend was under a metamorphosis by the power of 
spleen, and flute-blowing was unluckily become his 
adventitious passion. 

In order, therefore, to banish his anxiety imper- 
ceptibly by seeming to indulge it, I began to descant 
on those gloomy topics by which philosophers often 
get rid of their own spleen by communicating it ; 
the wretchedness of a man in this life, the happi- 
ness of some wrought out of the miseries of oth- 
ers, the necessity that some should expire under 
punishment, that rogues might enjoy affluence in 
tranquillity. I led him on from the inhumanity of 
the rich to the ingratitude of the beggar ; from the 
insincerity of refinement to the fierceness of rus- 
ticity ; and at last had the good fortune to restore 
him to his usual serenity of temper, by permitting 
him to expatiate upon all the modes of human mis- 
ery. 

" Some nights ago," says my friend, " sitting alone 
by my fire, I happened to look into an account of the 
detection of a set of men called the thieftakers. I 
read over the many hideous cruelties of those haters 
of mankind ; of their pretended friendship to wretch- 
es they meant to betray ; of their sending out men 
to rob, and then hanging them. I could not avoid 
sometimes interrupting the narrative by crying out, 
Yet these are men ! As I went on, I was informed 
that they had lived by this practice several years, 
and had been enriched by the price of blood ; and 
yet, cried I, I have been sent into this world, and am 
desired to call these my brothers ! I read that the 
very man who led the condemned wretch to the gal- 
lows was he who falsely swore his life away ; and 
yet, continued I, that perjurer had just such a nose, 
such lips, such hands, and such eyes as Newton. I 
at last came to the account of the wretch that was 
searched after robbing one of the thieftakers of half 



172 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

a crown. Those of the confederacy knew that he 
had got but that single half crown in the world ; af- 
ter a long search, therefore, which they knew would 
be fruitless, and taking from him half a crown, which 
they knew was all he had, one of the gang compas- 
sionately cried out, Alas ! poor creature, let him 
keep all the rest he has got ; it will do him service in 
Newgate, where we are sending him. This was an 
instance of such complicated guilt and hypocrisy, 
that I threw down the book in an agony of rage, and 
began to think with malice of all the human kind. 
I sat silent for some minutes, and, soon perceiving 
the ticking of my watch beginning to grow noisy 
and troublesome, I quickly placed it out of hearing, 
and strove to resume my serenity. But the watch- 
man soon gave me a second alarm. I had scarcely 
recovered from this, when my peace was assaulted 
by the wind at my window ; and when that ceased 
to blow, I listened for death-watches in the wain- 
scot. I now found my whole system discomposed. 
I strove to find a resource in philosophy and reason ; 
but what could I oppose, or where direct my blow, 
when I could see no enemy to combat, I saw no 
misery approaching, nor knew any I had to fear, yet 
still I was miserable. Morning came ; I sought for 
tranquillity in dissipation ; sauntered from one place 
of public resort to another, but found myself disa- 
greeable to my acquaintance, and ridiculous to oth- 
ers. I tried, at different times, dancing, fencing, and 
riding. I resolved geometrical problems, shaped 
tobacco-stoppers, wrote verses, and cut paper. At 
last I placed my affections on music, and find that 
earnest employment, if it cannot cure, at least will 
palliate every anxiety." Adieu. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 173 



FROM THE SAME. 

The Influence of Climate and Soil upon the Temper and Dispo- 
sition of the English. 

It is no unpleasing contemplation to consider the 
influence which soil and climate have upon the dis- 
position of the inhabitants, the animals, and vegeta- 
bles of different countries. That among the brute 
creation is much more visible than in man, and that 
in vegetables more than either. In some places, 
those plants which are entirely poisonous at home' 
lose their deleterious quality by being carried abroad.' 
There are serpents in Macedonia so harmless as to 
be used as playthings for children ; and we are told 
that, in some parts of Fez, there are lions so very 
timorous as to be scared away, though coming in 
herds, by the cries of women. 

I know of no country where the influence of cli- 
mate and soil is more visible than in England. The 
same hidden cause which gives courage to their dogs 
and cocks, gives also fierceness to their men. But 
chiefly this ferocity appears among the vulgar. The 
polite of every country pretty nearly resemble each 
other. But, as in simpling, it is among the unculti- 
vated productions of nature we are to examine the 
characteristic differences of climate and soil, so, in 
an estimate of the genius of the people, we must look 
among the sons of unpolished rusticity. The vulgar 
English, therefore, may be easily distinguished from 
all the rest of the world by superior pride, impa- 
tience, and a peculiar hardness of soul. 

Perhaps no qualities in the world are more sus- 
ceptible of a fine polish than these : artificial com- 
plaisance and easy deference being superinduced 
over these, generally forms a great character ; some- 
thing at once elegant and majestic ; affable, yet sin- 
cere. Such, in general, are the better sort ; but thev 

P2 J 



174 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

who are left in primitive rudeness, are the least dis- 
posed for society with others, or comfort internally, 
of any people under the sun. 

The poor, indeed, of every country are but little 
prone to treat each other with tenderness; their 
own miseries are too apt to engross all their pity ; 
and perhaps, too, they give but little commiseration, 
as they find but little from others. But in England 
the poor treat each other upon every occasion with 
more than savage animosity, and as if they were in 
a state of open war by nature. In China, if two 
porters should meet in a narrow street, they would 
lay down their burdens, make a thousand excuses to 
each other for the accidental interruption, and beg 
pardon on their knees ; if two men of the same oc- 
cupation should meet here, they would first begin to 
scold, and at last to beat each other. One would 
think they had miseries enough resulting from pen- 
ury and labour, not to increase them by ill-nature 
among themselves, and subjection to new penalties ; 
but such considerations never weigh with them. 

But, to recompense this strange absurdity, they 
are, in the main, generous, brave, and enterprising. 
They feel the slightest injuries with a degree of un- 
governed impatience, but resist the greatest calam- 
ities with surprising fortitude. Those miseries un- 
der which any other people in the world would sink, 
they have often showed they were capable of en- 
during : if accidentally cast upon some desolate 
coast, their perseverance is beyond what any other 
nation is capable of sustaining ; if imprisoned for 
crimes, their efforts to escape are greater than 
among others. The peculiar strength of their pris- 
ons, when compared to those elsewhere, argues their 
hardiness ; even the strongest prisons I have ever 
seen in other countries would be very insufficient 
to confine the untameable spirit of an Englishman. 
In short, what man dares do in circumstances of 
danger, an Englishman will. His virtues seem to 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 175 

sleep in the calm, and are called out only to combat 
the kindred storm. 

But the greatest eulogy of this people is the gen- 
erosity of their miscreants ; the tenderness, in gen- 
eral, of their robbers and highwaymen. Perhaps 
no people can produce instances of the same kind, 
where the desperate mix pity with injustice, still 
showing that they understand a distinction in crimes, 
and even in acts of violence have still some tincture 
of remaining virtue. In every other country, rob- 
bery and murder go almost always together ;. here 
it seldom happens, except upon ill-judged resistance 
or pursuit. The banditti of other countries are un- 
merciful to a supreme degree ; the highwayman and 
robber here are generous, at least in their inter- 
course among each other. Taking, therefore, my 
opinion of the English from the virtues and vices 
practised among the vulgar, they at once present to 
a stranger all their faults, and keep their virtues up 
only for the inquiring eye of a philosopher. 

Foreigners are generally shocked at their inso- 
lence upon first coining among them; they find 
themselves ridiculed and insulted in every street; 
they meet with none of those trifling civilities so 
frequent elsewhere, which are instances of mutual 
good-will, without previous acquaintance ; they trav- 
el through the country either too ignorant or too 
obstinate to cultivate a closer acquaintance; meet 
every moment something to excite their disgust, and 
return home to characterize this as the region of 
spleen, insolence, and ill-nature. In short, England 
would be the last place in the world I would travel 
to by way of amusement, but the first for instruc- 
tion. I would choose to have others for my ac- 
quaintance, but Englishmen for my friends. 



176 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



TO THE SAME. 

The Manner in which some Philosophers make Artificial 

Misery. 

The mind is ever ingenious in making its own dis- 
tress. The wandering beggar, who has none to pro- 
tect, to feed, or to shelter him, fancies complete hap- 
piness in labour and a full meal. Take him from rags 
and want, feed, clothe, and employ him, his wishes 
now "rise one step above his station: he could be 
happy were he possessed of raiment, food, and ease. 
Suppose his wishes gratified even in these, his pros- 
pects widen as he ascends. He finds himself in af- 
fluence and tranquillity, indeed, but indolence soon 
breeds anxiety, and he desires not only to be free 
from pain, but to be possessed of pleasure. Pleasure 
is granted him, and this but opens his soul to am- 
bition, and ambition will be sure to taint his future 
happiness, either with jealousy, disappointment, or 
fatigue. 

But of all the arts of distress found out by man 
for his own torment, perhaps that of a philosophic 
misery is most truly ridiculous : a passion nowhere 
carried to so extravagant an excess as in the coun- 
try where I now reside. It is not enough to engage 
all the compassion of a philosopher here that his 
own globe is harassed with wars, pestilence, or 
barbarity ; he shall grieve for the inhabitants of the 
moon if the situation of her imaginary mountains 
happens to alter ; and dread the extinction of the 
sun if the spots on his surface happen to increase. 
One should imagine that philosophy was introduced 
to make men happy, but here it serves to make hun- 
dreds miserable. 

My landlady, some days ago, brought me the diary 
of a philosopher of this desponding sort, who had 
lodged in the apartment before me. It contains the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 177 

history of a life which seems to be one continued 
tissue of sorrow, apprehension, and distress. A 
single week will serve as a specimen of the whole. 

Monday. — In what a transient, decaying situation 
are we placed, and what various reasons does phi- 
losophy furnish to make mankind unhappy ! A sin- 
gle grain of mustard shall continue to produce its 
similitude through numberless successions ; yet 
what has been granted to this little seed has been 
denied to our planetary system ; the mustard-seed 
is still unaltered, but the system is growing old, and 
must quickly fall to decay. How terrible will it be 
when the motions of all the planets have at last be- 
come so irregular as to need repairing ; when the 
moon shall fall into frightful paroxysms of altera- 
tion ; when the earth, deviating from its ancient track, 
and with every other planet forgetting its circular 
revolutions, shall become so eccentric that, uncon- 
fined by the laws of system, it shall fly off into 
boundless space, to knock against some distant 
world, or fall in upon the sun, either extinguishing 
his light, or burned up by his flames in a moment. 
Perhaps while I write this dreadful change is begun. 
Shield me from universal ruin ! Yet idiot man 
laughs, sings, ai:<l rejoices in the very face of the 
sun, and seer^s no way touched with his situation. 

Tuesday. — Went to bed in great distress, awaken- 
ed, and was comforted by considering that this 
change was to happen at some indefinite time, and 
therefore, like death, the thought of it might easily 
be borne. But there is a revolution, a fixed, deter- 
mined revolution, which must certainly come to 
pass ; yet which, by good fortune, I shall never feel, 
except in my posterity. The obliquity of the equa- 
tor with the ecliptic is now twenty minutes less 
than when it was observed two thousand years ago 
by Piteas. If this be the case, in six thousand the 
obliquity will be still less by a whole degree. This 
being supposed, it is evident that our earth, as Lou- 



J 78 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ville has clearly proved, has a motion, by which the 
climates must necessarily change place, and, in the 
space of about one million of years, England shall 
actually travel to the Antarctic Pole. I shudder at 
the change ! How shall our unhappy grandchildren 
endure the hideous climate ? A million of years will 
soon be accomplished ; they are but a moment when 
compared to eternity : then shall our charming coun- 
try, as I may say, in a moment of time, resemble 
the hideous wilderness of Nova Zembla. 

Wednesday. — To-night, by my calculation, the 
long-predicted comet is to make its first appearance. 
Heavens, what terrors are impending over our little 
dim speck of earth ! Dreadful visitation ! Are we 
to be scorched in its fires, or only smothered in the 
vapour of its tail ? That is the question ! Thought- 
less mortals, go build houses, plant orchards, pur- 
chase estates, for to-morrow you die. But what if 
the comet should not come 1 That would be equal- 
ly fatal. Comets are servants, which periodically 
return to supply the sun with fuel. If our sun, 
therefore, should be disappointed of the expected 
supply, and all his fuel be in the mean time burned 
out, he must expire like an exhausted taper. What 
a miserable situation must our earth be in without 
his enlivening ray? Have we not seen several 
neighbouring suns entirely disappear 1 Has not a 
fixed star, near the tail of the Ram, lately been quite 
extinguished ? 

Thursday. — The comet has not yet appeared. I 
am sorry for it : first, sorry because my calculation 
is false ; secondly, sorry lest the sun should want 
fuel ; thirdly, sorry lest the wits should laugh at our 
erroneous predictions ; and, fourthly, sorry because, 
if it appears to-night, it must necessarily come with- 
in the sphere of the earth's attraction ; and Heaven 
help the unhappy country on which it happens to 
fall ! 

Friday. — Our whole society have been out, all 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 179 

eager in search of the comet. We havo seen not 
less than sixteen comets in different parts of the 
heavens. However, we are unanimously resolved 
to fix upon one only to be the comet expected. That 
near Virgo wants nothing but a tail to fit it out com- 
pletely for terrestrial admiration. 

Saturday. — The moon is, I find, at her old pranks. 
Her appulses, librations, and other irregularities in- 
deed amaze me. My daughter, too, is this morning 
go:;c off with a grenadier. No way surprising. 1 
was never able to give her a relish for wisdom. 
She ever promised to be a mere expletive in the 
creation. But the moon, the moon gives me real 
uneasiness : I fondly fancied I had fixed her. I had 
thought her constant, and constant only to me ; but 
every night discovers her infidelity, and proves me 
a desolate and abandoned lover. Adieu. 



TO THE SAME. 

The fondness of some to admire the Writings of Lords, &c. 

It is surprising what an influence titles shall have 
upon the mind, even though these titles be of our 
own making. Like children, we dress up the pup- 
pets in finery, and then stand in astonishment at the 
plastic wonder. I have been told of a rat-catcher 
here, who strolled for a long time about the villages 
near town without finding any employment; at last, 
however, he thought proper to take the title of his 
majesty's rat-catcher in ordinary, and this succeed- 
ed beyond his expectations : when once it was 
known he caught rats at court, all were ready to 
give him countenance and employment. 

But of all the people, they who make books seem 
most perfectly sensible of the advantage of titular 
dignity. All seem convinced that a book written 
by vulgar hands can neither instruct nor improve ; 



180 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

none but kings, chams, and mandarines can write 
with any probability of success. If the titles inform 
me right, not only kings and courtiers, but emperors 
themselves, in this country, periodically supply the 
press. 

A man here who should write, and honestly con- 
fess that he wrote for bread, might as well send his 
manuscript to fire the baker's oven : not one crea- 
ture will read him : all must be court-bred poets, or 
pretend, at least, to be court-bred, who can expect to 
please. Should the caitiff fairly avow a design of 
emptying our pockets and filling his own, every 
reader would instantly forsake him ; even those who 
write for bread themselves would combine to worry 
him, perfectly sensible that his attempt only served 
to take the bread out of their mouths. 

And yet this silly prepossession the more amazes 
me when I consider that almost all the excellent 
productions in wit that have appeared here were 
purely the offspring of necessity ; their Drydens, 
Butlers, Otways, and Farquhars were all writers for 
bread. Believe me, my friend, hunger has a most 
amazing faculty for sharpening the genius ; and he 
who, with a full belly, can think like a hero, after a 
course of fasting shall rise to the sublimity of a 
demi-god. 

But what will most amaze us is, that this very set 
of men, who are now so much depreciated by fools, 
are, however, the very best writers they have among 
them at present. For my own part, were I to buy 
a hat, I would not have it from a stocking-maker, 
but a hatter ; were I to buy shoes, I should not go 
to the tailor for that purpose. It is just so with re- 
gard to wit : did I, for my life, desire to be well 
served, I would apply only to those who made it 
their trade, and lived by it. You smile at the oddi- 
ty of my opinion ; but be assured, my friend, that 
wit is in some measure mechanical, and that a man 
long habituated to catch at even its resemblance, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 181 

will at last be happy enough to possess the sub- 
stance ; by a long habit of writing, he acquires a 
justness of thinking and a mastery of manner, which 
holyday writers, even with ten times his genius, may 
vainly attempt to equal. 

How, then, are they deceived who expect from 
title, dignity, and exterior circumstance an excel- 
lence which is, in some measure, acquired by habit 
and sharpened by necessity; you have seen, like 
me, many literary reputations promoted by the in- 
fluence of fashion, which have scarce survived the 
possessor ; you have seen the poor hardly earn the 
little reputation they acquired, and their merit only 
acknowledged when they were incapable of enjoy- 
ing the pleasures of popularity ; such, however, is 
the reputation worth possessing, that which is hardly 
earned is hardly lost. Adieu. 



FROM HINGPO IN MOSCOW, TO LIEN CHI ALTANGI IN 

LONDON. 

The Philosopher's Son is again separated from his beautiful 

Companion. 

Where will my disappointments end? Must I 
still be doomed to accuse the severity of my fortune, 
and show my constancy in distress rather than mod- 
eration in prosperity ! I had, at least, hopes of con- 
veying my charming companion safe from the reach 
of every enemy, and of again restoring her to her 
native soil. But those hopes are now no more. 

Upon leaving Terki, we took the nearest road to 
the dominions of Russia. We passed the Ural 
Mountains, covered in eternal snow, and traversed 
the forest of Ufa, where the prowling bear and 
shrieking hyena keep an undisputed possession. 
We next embarked upon the rapid river Bulija, and 

Vol. II.—Q 



182 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

made the best of our way to the banks of the Wolga, 
where it waters the fruitful valleys of Casan. 

There were two vessels in company, properly 
equipped and armed, in order to oppose the Wolga 
pirates, who, we were informed, infested this river. 
Of all mankind, these pirates are the most terrible. 
They are composed of the criminals and outlawed 
peasants of Russia, who fly to the forests that lie 
along the banks of the Wolga for protection. Here 
they join in parties, lead a savage life, and have no 
other subsistence but plunder. Being deprived of 
houses, friends, or a fixed habitation, they become 
more terrible even than the tiger, and as insensible 
to all the feelings of humanity. They neither give 
quarter to those they conquer, nor receive it when 
overpowered themselves. The severity of the laws 
against them serves to increase their barbarity, and 
seems to make them a neutral species of beings, be- 
tween the wildness of the lion and the subtlety of the 
man. When taken alive, their punishment is hide- 
ous. A floating gibbet is erected, which is run down 
with the stream ; here, upon an iron hook stuck un- 
der their ribs, and upon which the whole weight of 
their body depends, they are left to expire in the 
most terrible agonies ; some being thus found to 
linger several days successively. 

We were but three days' voyage from the conflu- 
ence of this river into the Wolga, when we perceiv- 
ed, at a distance behind us, an armed bark coming 
up, with the assistance of sails and oars, in order to 
attack us. The dreadful signal of death was hung 
upon the masts, and our captain, with his glass, 
could easily discern them to be pirates. It is im- 
possible to describe our consternation on this occa- 
sion; the whole crew instantly came together to 
consult the properest means of safety. It was, there- 
fore, soon determined to send off our women and 
valuable commodities in one of our vessels, and that 
the men should stay in the other and boldly oppose 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 183 

the enemy. This resolution was soon put into exe- 
cution ; and I now reluctantly parted from the beau- 
tiful Zelis for the first time since our retreat from 
Persia. The vessel in which she was disappeared 
to my longing eyes in proportion as that of the pi- 
rates approached us. They soon came up; but, 
upon examining our strength, and perhaps sensible 
of the manner in which we sent off our most valua- 
ble effects, they seemed more eager to pursue the 
vessel we had sent away than attack us. In this 
manner they continued to harass us for three days, 
still endeavouring to pass us without fighting. But, 
on the fourth day, finding it entirely impossible, and 
despairing to seize the expected booty, they desisted 
from their endeavours, and left us to pursue our voy- 
age without interruption. 

Our joy on this occasion was great ; but soon a 
disappointment more terrible, because unexpected, 
succeeded. The bark in which our women and 
treasure were sent off was wrecked upon the banks 
of the Wolga for want of a proper number of hands 
to manage her, and the whole crew carried by the 
peasants up the country. Of thi6, however, we were 
not sensible till our arrival at Moscow ; where, ex- 
pecting to meet our separated bark, we were inform- 
ed of its misfortune and our loss. Need I paint the 
situation of my mind on this occasion? Need I 
describe all I feel when I despair of beholding the 
beautiful Zelis more ! Fancy had dressed the future 
prospect of my life in the gayest colouring, but one 
unexpected stroke of fortune has robbed it of every 
charm. Her dear idea mixes with every scene of 
pleasure ; and, without her presence to enliven it, 
the whole becomes tedious, insipid, insupportable. 
I will confess, now that she is lost, I will confess I 
loved her ; nor is it in the power of time or of rea- 
son to erase her image from my heart. Adieu. 



184 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESI- 
DENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN 
CHINA. 

The Condolence and Congratulation upon the Death of the late 
King ridiculed. — English Mourning described. 

The manner of grieving for our departed friends 
in China is very different from that of Europe. The 
mourning colour of Europe is black, that of China 
white. When a parent or relation dies here — for 
they seldom mourn for friends — it is only clapping 
on a suit of sables, grimacing it for a few days, and 
all, soon forgotten, goes on as before ; not a single 
creature missing the deceased, except, perhaps, a fa- 
vourite housekeeper or a favourite cat. 

On the contrary, with us in China it is a very se- 
rious affair. The piety with which I have seen you 
behave on one of these occasions should never be 
forgotten. I remember it was upon the death of thy 
grandmother's maiden sister. The coffin was ex- 
posed in the principal hall, in public view. Before 
it was placed the figures of eunuchs, horses, tor- 
toises, and other animals, in attitudes of grief and 
respect. The more distant relations of the old lady, 
and I among the number, came to pay our compli- 
ments of condolence, and to salute the deceased, 
after the manner of our country. We had scarce 
presented our wax candles and perfumes, and given 
the bowl of departure, when, crawling on his belly 
from under a curtain, out came the reverend Fum 
Hoam himself, in all the dismal solemnity of dis- 
tress. Your looks were set for sorrow ; your clo- 
thing consisted of a hempen bag tied round the neck 
with a string. For two long months did this mourn- 
ing continue. By night you lay stretched on a single 
mat, and sat on the stool of discontent by day. Pi- 
ous man, who could thus set an example of sorrow 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 185 

and decorum to our country. Pious country, where, 
if we do not grieve at the departure of our friends 
for their sakes, at least we are taught to regret them 
for our own. 

All is very different here ; amazement all. What 
sort of people am I got among ! Fum, thou son of 
Fo, what sort of people am I got among ? No crawl- 
ing round the coffin ; no dressing up in hempen bags ; 
no lying on mats nor sitting on stools. Gentlemen 
here shall put on first mourning with as sprightly an 
air as if preparing for a birthnight ; and widows shall 
actually dress for another husband in their weeds 
for the former. The best jest of all is, that our 
merry mourners clap bits of muslin on their sleeves, 
and these are called weepers. Weeping muslin! 
alas ! alas ! very sorrowful, truly ! These weepers, 
then, it seems, are to bear the whole burden of the 
distress. 

But I have had the strongest instance of this con- 
trast — this tragi-comical behaviour in distress — upon 
a recent occasion. Their king, whose departure, 
though sudden, was not unexpected, died after a 
reign of many years. His age and uncertain state 
of health served, in some measure, to diminish the 
sorrow of his subjects, and their expectations from 
his successor seemed to balance their minds between 
uneasiness and satisfaction. But how ought they 
to have behaved on such an occasion \ Surely they 
ought rather to have endeavoured to testify their 
gratitude to their deceased friend, than to proclaim 
their hopes of the future. Sure even his successor 
must suppose their love to wear the face of adula- 
tion, which so quickly changed the object. Howev- 
er, the very same day on which the old king died, 
they made rejoicings for the new. 

For my part, I have no conception of this new 
manner of mourning and rejoicing in a breath ; of 
being merry and sad ; of mixing a funeral proces- 
sion with a iifi and a bonfire. At least it would 

Q 2 



186 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

have been just that they who flattered the king 
while living for virtues which he had not, should 
lament him dead for those he really had. 

In this universal cause for national distress, as I 
had no interest myself, so it is but natural to sup- 
pose I felt no real affliction. " In all the losses of 
our friends," says a European philosopher, " we 
first consider how much our own welfare is affected 
by their departure, and moderate our real grief just 
in the same proportion." Now, as I had neither 
received nor expected to receive favours from kings 
or their flatterers ; as I had no acquaintance in par- 
ticular with their late monarch ; as I knew that the 
place of a king is soon supplied ; and, as the Chi- 
nese proverb has it, that, though the world may 
sometimes want cobblers to mend their shoes, there 
is no danger of its wanting emperors to rule their 
kingdoms ; from such considerations, I could bear 
the loss of a king with the most philosophic resig- 
nation. However, I thought it my duty at least to 
appear sorrowful; to put on a melancholy aspect, or 
to set my face by that of the people. 

The first company I came among, after the news 
became general, was a set of jolly companions, who 
were drinking prosperity to the ensuing reign. I 
entered the room with looks of despair, and even 
expected applause for the superlative misery of my 
countenance. Instead of that, I was universally 
condemned by the company for a grimacing son of 
Belial, and desired to take away my penitential 
phiz to some other quarter. I now corrected my 
former mistake, and, with the most sprightly air 
imaginable, entered a company where they were 
talking over the ceremonies of the approaching fu- 
neral. Here I sat for some time with an air of pert 
vivacity, when one of the chief mourners, immedi- 
ately observing my good-humour, desired me, if I 
pleased, to go and grin somewhere else ; they want- 
ed no disaffected scoundrels there, leaving this 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 187 

company, therefore, I was resolved to assume a 
look perfectly neutral; and have ever since been 
studying the fashionable air, something between 
jest and earnest ; a complete virginity of face, un- 
contaminated with the smallest symptom of meaning 
But, though grief be a very slight affair here, the 
mourning, my friend, is a very important concern. 
When an emperor dies in China, the whole expense 
of the solemnities is defrayed from the royal coffers. 
When the great die here, mandarines are ready 
enough to order mourning, but I do not see they are 
so ready to pay for it. If they send me down from 
court the gray undress frock, or the black cut with- 
out pocket-holes, I am willing enough to comply 
with their commands, and wear both ; but, by the 
head of Confucius ! to be obliged to wear black, and 
buy it into the bargain, is more than my tranquillity 
sf temper can bear. What! order me to wear 
mourning before they know whether I can buy it 
or no ! Fum, thou son of Fo, what sort of a peo- 
ple am I got among, where being out of black is a 
certain symptom of poverty ; where those who have 
miserable faces cannot have mourning, and those 
who can have mourning will not wear a miserable 
face? 



FROM THE SAME. 

A Description of the Courts of Justice in Westminster Hall. 

I had some intentions lately of going to visit Bed- 
lam, the place where those who go mad are confined. 
I went to wait upon the man in black to be my con- 
ductor ; but I found him preparing to go to West- 
minster Hall, where the English hold their courts of 
justice. It gave me some surprise to find my friends 
engaged in a lawsuit, but more so when he informed 
me that it had been depending for several years. 



188 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

" How is it possible," cried I, " for a man who knows 
the world to go to law ! I am well acquainted with 
the courts of justice in China ; they resemble rat- 
traps, every one of them ; nothing more easy than to 
get in, but to get out again is attended with some 
difficulty, and more cunning than rats are generally 
found to possess !" 

" Faith," replied my friend, " I should not have 
gone to law but that I was assured of success before I 
began ; things were presented to me in so alluring a 
light, that I thought, by barely declaring myself a 
candidate for the prize, I had nothing more to do but 
to enjoy the fruits of the victory. Thus have I been 
upon the eve of an imaginary triumph every term 
these ten years ; have travelled forward with victory 
ever in my view, but ever out of reach : however, at 
present, I fancy Ave have hampered our antagonist 
in such a manner, that, without some unforeseen de- 
mur, we shall this very day lay him fairly on his 
back." 

" If things be so situated," said I, " I don't care if 
I attend you to the courts, and partake in the pleas- 
ure of your success. But prithee," continued I, as 
we set forward, " what reasons have you tp think an 
affair at last concluded which has given you so 
many former disappointments !" " My lawyer tells 
me," returned he, " that I have Salkeld and Ventris 
strong in my favour, and that there are no less 
than fifteen cases in point." " I understand," said I, 
" those are two of your judges who have already de- 
clared their opinions." " Pardon me," replied my 
friend ; " Salkeld and Ventris are lawyers who, some 
hundred years ago, gave their opinion on cases sim- 
ilar to mine : these opinions which make for me my 
lawyer is to cite, and those opinions which look an- 
other way are cited by the lawyer employed by my 
antagonist ; as I observed, I have Salkeld and Ven- 
tris for me, he has Coke and Hale for him, and he 
that has most opinions is most likely to carry his 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 189 

cause." " But where is the necessity," cried I, " of 
prolonging a suit by citing the opinions and reports 
of others, since the same good sense which deter- 
mined lawyers in former ages may serve to guide 
your judges at this day 1 They at that time gave 
their opinions only from the light of reason ; your 
judges have the same light at present to direct them ; 
let me even add, a greater, as in former ages there 
were many prejudices from which the present is 
happily free. If arguing from authorities be explo- 
ded from every other branch of learning, why should 
it be particularly adhered to in this ! I plainly fore- 
see how such a method of investigation must em- 
barrass every suit, and even perplex the student ; 
ceremonies will be multiplied, formalities must in- 
crease, and more time will thus be spent in learning 
the arts of litigation than in the discovery of right." 

"I see," cries my friend, "that you are for a 
speedy administration of justice ; but all the world 
will grant, that the more time that is taken up in 
considering any subject, the better it will be under- 
stood. Besides, it is the boast of an Englishman 
that his property is secure, and all the world will 
grant that a deliberate administration of justice is 
the best way to secure his property. Why have we 
so many lawyers but to secure our property ? why 
so many formalities but to secure our property'? 
Not. less than one hundred thousand families live in 
opulence, elegance, and ease merely by securing 
our property." 

" To embarrass justice," returned I, " by a multi- 
plicity of laws, or to hazard it by a confidence in our 
judges, are, I grant, the opposite rocks on which 
legislative wisdom has ever split ; in one case, the 
client resembles that emperor who is said to have 
been suffocated with the bedclothes which were only 
designed to keep him warm ; in the other, to that 
town which let the enemy take possession of its 
walls, in order to show the world how little they de- 



190 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

pendedon aught but courage for safety. But, bless 
me ! what numbers do I see here ; all in black ! 
how is it possible that half this multitude find em- 
ployment ?" " Nothing so easily conceived," re- 
turned my companion ; " they live by watching each 
other. For instance, the catchpole watches the man 
in debt, the attorney watches the catchpole, the 
counsellor watches the attorney, the solicitor the 
counsellor, and all find sufficient employment." " I 
conceive you," interrupted I, " they watch each oth- 
er, but it is the elient that pays them all for watch- 
ing : it puts me in mind of a Chinese fable, which is 
entitled, Five Animals at a Meal." 

" A grasshopper, filled with dew, was merrily 
singing under a shade ; a whangam, that eats grass- 
hoppers, had marked it for its prey, and was just 
stretching forth to devour it ; a serpent, that had for 
a long time fed only on whangams, was coiled up to 
fasten on the whangam ; a yellow-bird was just upon 
the wing to dart upon the serpent ; a hawk had just 
stooped from above to seize the yellow-bird ; all 
were intent on their prey and unmindful of their 
danger. So the whangam ate the grasshopper, the 
serpent ate the whangam, the yellow-bird the ser- 
pent, and the hawk the yellow-bird ; when, sousing 
from on high, a vulture gobbled up the hawk, grass- 
hopper, whangam, and all, in a moment." 

I had scarce finished my fable, when the lawyer 
came to inform my friend that his cause was put off 
till another term ; that money was wanted to retain, 
and that all the world was of opinion that the very 
next hearing would bring him off victorious. " If 
so, then," cries my friend, " I believe it will be my 
wisest way to continue the cause for another term ; 
and, in the mean time, my friend here and I will go 
and see Bedlam." Adieu. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 191 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO HINGPO, BY THE WAY OF 

MOSCOW. 

A Life of Independence Praised. 

Few virtues have been more praised by moralists 
than generosity ; every practical treatise of ethics 
tends to increase our sensibility of the distresses of 
others, and to relax the grasp of frugality. Philos- 
ophers that are poor praise it because they are gain- 
ers by its effects ; and the opulent Seneca himself 
has written a treatise on benefits, though he was 
known to give nothing away. 

But, among many who have enforced the duty of 
giving, I am surprised there are none to inculcate 
the ignominy of receiving ; to show that, by every 
favour we accept, we in some measure forfeit our 
native freedom, and that a state of continual depend- 
ance on the generosity of others is a life of gradual 
debasement. 

Were men taught to despise the receiving obliga- 
tions with the same force of reasoning and declama- 
tion that they are instructed to confer them, we 
might then see every person in society filling up the 
requisite duties of his station with cheerful industry, 
neither relaxed by hope nor sullen from disappoint- 
ment. 

Every favour a man receives in some measure 
sinks him below his dignity, and, in proportion to 
the value of the benefit or the frequency of its ac- 
ceptance, he gives up so much of his natural inde- 
pendence. He, therefore, who thrives upon the un- 
merited bounty of another, if he has any sensibility, 
suffers the worst of servitude : the shackled slave 
may murmur without reproach, but the humble de- 
pendant is taxed with ingratitude upon every symp- 
tom of discontent ; the one may rave round the walls 
of his cell, but the other lingers in all the silence of 



192 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

mental confinement. To increase his distress, eve- 
ry new obligation but adds to the former load which 
kept the vigorous mind from rising ; till at last, elas- 
tic no longer, it shapes itself to constraint, and puts 
on habitual servility. 

It is thus with the feeling mind ; but there are some 
who, born without any share of sensibility, receive 
favour after favour, and still cringe for more ; who 
accept the offer of generosity with as little reluc- 
tance as the wages of merit, and even make thanks 
for past benefits and indirect petitions for new ; such, 
I grant, can suffer no debasement from dependance, 
since they were originally as vile as was possible to 
be ; dependance degrades only the ingenuous, but 
leaves the sordid mind in pristine meanness. In 
this manner, therefore, long-continued generosity 
is misplaced or it is injurious ; it either finds a man 
worthless, or it makes him so ; and true it is, that 
the person who is contented to be often obliged ought 
not to be obliged at all. 

Yet, while I describe the meanness of a life of 
continued dependance, I would not be thought to in- 
clude those natural or political subordinations which 
subsist in every society ; for in such, though depend- 
ance is exacted from the inferior, yet the obligation 
on either side is mutual. The son must rely upon 
his parent for support, but the parent lies under the 
same obligations to give that the other has to ex- 
pect ; the subordinate officer must receive the com- 
mands of his superior, but for this obedience the for- 
mer has a right to demand an intercourse of favour : 
such is not the dependance I would depreciate, but 
that where every expected favour must be the result 
of mere benevolence in the giver ; where the benefit 
can be kept without remorse, or transferred without 
injustice. The character of a legacy-hunter, for in- 
stance, is detestable in some countries, and despica- 
ble in all : this universal contempt of a man who in- 
fringes upon none of the laws of society, some mor- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 193 

alists have arraigned as a popular and unjust preju- 
dice ; never considering the necessary degradations 
a wretch must undergo who previously expects to 
grow rich by benefits, without having either natural 
or social claims to enforce his petitions. 

But this intercourse of benefaction and acknowl- 
edgment is often injurious even to the giver as well 
as the receiver : a man can gain but little knowledge 
of himself or of the world amid a circle of those 
whom hope or gratitude has gathered round him : 
their unceasing humiliations must necessarily in- 
crease his comparative magnitude, for all men meas- 
ure their own abilities by those of their company : 
thus, being taught to overrate his merit, he in reali- 
ty lessens it : increasing in confidence, but not in 
power, his professions end in empty boast, his un- 
dertakings in shameful disappointment. 

It is, perhaps, one of the severest misfortunes of 
the great, that they are, in general, obliged to live 
among men whose real value is lessened by depend- 
ance, and whose minds are enslaved by obligation. 
The humble companion may at first have accepted 
patronage with generous views, but soon he feels 
the mortifying influence of conscious inferiority, by 
degrees sinks into a flatterer, and from flattery at 
last degenerates into stupid veneration. To remedy 
this, the great often dismiss their old dependants 
and take new. Such changes are falsely imputed 
to levity, falsehood, or caprice in the patron, since 
they may be more justly ascribed to the clients 
gradual deterioration. 

No, my son, a life of independence is generally a 
life of virtue. It is that which fits the soul for every 
generous flight of humanity, freedom, and friendship. 
To give should be our pleasure, but to receive our 
shame ; serenity, health, and affluence attend the 
desire of rising by labour ; misery, repentance, and 
disrespect that of succeeding by extorted benevo- 
lence. The man who can thank himself alone for 

Vol. II.— R 



194 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

the happiness he enjoys is truly blessed ; and love- 
ly, far more lovely the sturdy gloom of laborious in- 
digence than the fawning simper of thriving adula- 
tion. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT 
OF THE CERMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA. 

The People must be contented to be Guided by those whom 
they have appointed to Govern. — A Story to this Effect. 

In every society, some men are born to teach, and 
others to receive instruction ; some to work, and 
others to enjoy in idleness the fruits of their indus- 
try ; some to govern, and others to obey. Every 
people, how free soever, must be contented to give 
up part of their liberty and judgment to those who 
govern, in exchange for their hopes of security ; and 
the motives which first influenced their choice in 
the election of their governors, should ever be 
weighed against the succeeding apparent inconsist- 
ency of their conduct. All cannot be rulers, and 
men are generally best governed by a few. In ma- 
king way through the intricacies of business, the 
smallest obstacles are apt to retard the execution of 
what is to- be planned by a multiplicity of counsels ; 
the judgment of one alone being always fittest for 
winding through the labyrinths of intrigue and the 
obstructions of disappointment. A serpent, which, 
as the fable observes, is furnished with one head 
and many tails, is much more capable of subsistence 
and expedition than another which is furnished with 
but one tail and many heads. 

Obvious as these truths are, the people of this 
country seem insensible of their force. Not satis- 
fied with the advantages of internal peace and opu- 
lence, they still murmur at their governors, and in- 
terfere in the execution of their designs, as if they 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 195 

wanted to be something more than happy. But as 
the Europeans instruct by argument, and the Asiat- 
ics mostly by narration, were I to address them, I 
should convey my sentiments in the following story. 

Takupi had long been prime minister of Tipartala, 
a fertile country that stretches along the western 
confines of China. During his administration, what- 
ever advantages could be derived from arts, learning, 
and commerce, were seen to bless the people ; nor 
were the necessary precautions of providing for the 
security of the state forgotten. It often happens, 
however, that when men are possessed of all they 
want, they then begin to find torment from imagina- 
ry afflictions, and lessen their present enjoyment by 
foreboding that those enjoyments are to have an end. 
The people now, therefore, endeavoured to find out 
grievances ; and, after some search, actually began 
to think themselves aggrieved. A petition against 
the enormities of Takupi was carried to the throne 
in due form ; and the queen who governed the coun- 
try, willing to satisfy her subjects, appointed a day 
in which his accusers should be heard, and the min- 
ister should stand upon his defence. 

The day being arrived and the minister brought 
before the tribunal, a carrier, who supplied the city 
with fish, appeared among the number of his accu- 
sers. He exclaimed that it was the custom, time 
immemorial, for carriers to bring their fish upon a 
horse in a hamper ; which being placed on one side, 
and balanced by a stone on the other, was thus con- 
veyed with ease and safety ; but that the prisoner, 
moved either by a spirit of innovation, or perhaps 
bribed by the hamper-makers, had obliged all car- 
riers to use the stone no longer, but balance one 
hamper with another ; an order entirely repugnant 
to the customs of all antiquity, and those of the king- 
dom of Tipartala in particular. 

The carrier finished, and the whole court shook 
their heads at the innovating minister ; when a sec- 



196 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ond witness appeared. He was inspector of the 
city buildings, and accused the disgraced favourite 
of having given orders for the demolition of an an- 
cient ruin which obstructed the passage through one 
of the principal streets. He observed that such 
buildings were noble monuments of barbarous an- 
tiquity; contributed finely to show how little their 
ancestors understood of architecture, and for that 
reason such monuments should be held sacred, and 
suffered gradually to decay. 

The last witness now appeared. This was a 
widow who had laudably attempted to burn herself 
upon her husband's funeral pile. But the innovating 
minister had prevented the execution of her design, 
and was insensible to her tears, protestations, and 
entreaties. 

The queen could have pardoned the two former 
offences, but this last was considered as so gross 
an injury to the sex, and so directly contrary to all 
the customs of antiquity, that it called for immediate 
justice. "What!" cried the queen, "not suffer a 
woman to burn herself when she thinks proper ! 
The sex are to be very prettily tutored, no doubt, if 
they must be restrained from entertaining their fe- 
male friends now and then with a fried wife or 
roasted acquaintance. I sentence the criminal to be 
banished my presence for ever for this injurious 
treatment of the sex." 

Takupi had been hitherto silent, and spoke only 
to show the sincerity of his resignation. " Great 
queen," cried he, " I acknowledge my crime ; and, 
since I am to he banished, I beg it may be to some 
ruined town or ruined village in the country I have 
governed. I shall find some pleasure in improving 
the soil, and bringing back a spirit of industry among 
the inhabitants." His request appearing reasonable, 
it was immediately complied with, and a courtier 
had orders to fix upon a place of banishment an- 
swering the minister's description. After some 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 197 

months' search, however, the inquiry proved fruit- 
less ; neither a desolate village nor a ruined town 
was found in the whole kingdom. " Alas !" said 
Takupi to the queen, " how can that country be ill- 
governed which has neither a desolate village nor 
a ruined town in it?" The queen perceived the jus- 
tice of his expostulation, and the minister was re- 
ceived into more than former favour. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO ****, MERCHANT IN AM- 
STERDAM. 

The Chinese Philosopher begins to think of quitting England. 

I have just received a letter from my son, in 
which he informs me of the fruitlessness of his en- 
deavours to recover the lady with whom he fled 
from Persia. He strives to cover, under the ap- 
pearance of fortitude, a heart torn with anxiety and 
disappointment. I have offered little consolation, 
since that but too frequently feeds the sorrow which 
it pretends to deplore, and strengthens the impres- 
sion which nothing but the external rubs of time and 
accident can thoroughly efface. 

He informs me of his intentions of quitting Mos- 
cow the first opportunity, and travelling by land to 
Amsterdam. I must, therefore, upon his arrival, 
entreat the continuance of your friendship, and beg 
of you to provide him with proper directions for 
finding me in London. You can scarcely be sensi- 
ble of the joy 1 expect upon seeing him once more :■ 
the ties between the father and the son, among us of 
China, are much more closely drawn than with you 
of Europe. 

The remittances sent me from Argun to Moscow 
came in safety. I cannot sufficiently admire that 
spirit of honesty which prevails through the whole 
country of Siberia : perhaps the savages of that 

R2 



198 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

desolate region are the only untutored people of the 
globe that cultivate the moral virtues, even without 
knowing that their actions merit praise. I have 
been told surprising things of their goodness, benev- 
olence, and generosity ; and the uninterrupted com- 
merce between China and Russia serves as a collat- 
eral confirmation. 

" Let us," says the Chinese lawgiver, " admire 
the rude virtues of the ignorant, but rather imitate 
the delicate morals of the polite." In the country 
where I reside, though honesty and benevolence be 
not so congenial, yet art supplies the place of na- 
ture. Though here every vice is carried to excess, 
yet every virtue is practised also with unexampled 
superiority. A city like this is the soil for great 
virtues and great vices ; the villain can soon im- 
prove here in the deepest mysteries of deceiving ; 
and the practical philosopher can every day m'eet 
new incitements to mend his honest intentions. 
There are no pleasures, sensual or sentimental, 
which this city does not produce ; yet I know not 
how, I could not be content to reside here for life. 
There is something so seducing in that spot in 
which we first had existence, that nothing but it can 
please : whatever vicissitudes we experience in life, 
however we toil, or wheresoever we wander, our 
fatigued wishes still recur to home for tranquillity ; 
w T e long to die in that spot which gave us birth, and 
in that pleasing expectation opiate every calamity. 

You now, therefore, perceive that I have some in- 
tentions of leaving this country; and yet my de- 
signed departure fills me with reluctance and regret. 
Though the friendships of travellers are generally 
more transient than vernal snows, still I feel an un- 
easiness at breaking the connexions I have formed 
since my arrival ; particularly I shall have no small 
pain in leaving my usual companion, guide, and in- 
structer. 

I shall wait for the arrival of my son before I set 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 199 

out. He shall be my companion in every intended 
journey for the future ; in his company I can sup- 
port the fatigues of the way with redoubled ardour, 
pleased at once with conveying instruction and ex- 
acting obedience. Adieu. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESI- 
DENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN 
CHINA. 

The Arts some make use of to appear Learned. 

Our scholars of China have a most profound ven- 
eration for forms. A first-rate beauty never studied 
the decorums of dress with more assiduity. They 
may properly enough be said to be clothed with wis- 
dom from head to foot ; they have their philosophi- 
cal caps and philosophical whiskers, their philo- 
sophical slippers and philosophical fans ; there is 
even a philosophical standard for measuring the 
nails ; and yet, with all this seeming wisdom, they 
are often found to be mere empty pretenders. 

A philosophical beau is not so frequent in Europe, 
yet I am told that such characters are found here. I 
mean such as punctually support all the decorums 
of learning without being really very profound, or 
naturally possessed of a fine understanding ; who 
labour hard to obtain the titular honours attending 
literary merit ; who flatter others in order to be flat- 
tered in turn, and only study to be thought students. 

A character of this kind generally receives com- 
pany in his study, in all the pensive formality of 
slippers, nightgown, and easy-chair. The table is 
covered with a large book, which is always kept 
open and never read ; his solitary hours being dedi- 
cated to dozing, mending pens, feeling his pulse, 
peeping through the microscope, and sometimes 
reading amusing books which he condemns in com- 



200 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

pany. His library is preserved with the most reli- 
gious neatness, and is generally a repository of 
scarce books, which bear a high price, because too 
dull or useless to become common by the ordinary 
methods of publication. 

Such men are generally candidates for admittance 
into literary clubs, academies, and institutions, where 
they regularly meet to give and receive a little in- 
struction and a great deal of praise. In conversa- 
tion they never betray ignorance, because they never 
seem to receive information. Offer a new observa- 
tion, they have heard it before ; pinch them in an 
argument, and they reply with a sneer. 

Yet, how trifling soever these little arts may ap- 
pear, they answer one valuable purpose — of gaining 
the practisers the esteem they wish for. The bounds 
of a man's knowledge are easily concealed, if he has 
but prudence ; but all can readily see and admire a 
gilt library, a set of long nails, a silver standish, or 
a well-combed whisker, who are incapable of distin- 
guishing a dunce. 

When father Matthew, the first European mis- 
sionary, entered China, the court was informed that 
he possessed great skill in astronomy ; he was 
therefore sent for and examined. The established 
astronomers of state undertook this task, and made 
their report to the emperor that his skill was but 
very superficial, and no way comparable to their 
own. The missionary, however, appealed from 
their judgment to experience, and challenged them 
to calculate an eclipse of the moon that was to hap- 
pen a few nights following. " What !" said some, 
" shall a barbarian without nails pretend to vie with 
men in astronomy who have made it the study of 
their lives ; with men who know half the knowable 
characters of words ; who wear scientifical caps and 
slippers, and who have gone through every literary 
degree with applause ?" They accepted the chal- 
lenge, confident of success. The eclipse began : the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. ' 201 

Chinese produced a most splendid apparatus, and 
were fifteen minutes wrong ; the missionary, with 
a single instrument, was exact to a second. This 
was convincing; but the court astronomers were 
not to be convinced ; instead of acknowledging their 
error, they assured the emperor that their calcula- 
tions were certainly exact, but that the stranger 
without nails had actually bewitched the moon. 
" Well, then," cries the good emperor, smiling at 
their ignorance, " you shall still continue to be ser- 
vants of the moon, but I constitute this man her 
controller." 

China is thus replete with men whose only pre- 
tensions to knowledge arise from external circum- 
stances ; and in Europe every country abounds with 
them in proportion to its ignorance. Spain and 
Flanders, which are behind the rest of Europe in 
learning at least three centuries, have twenty litera- 
ry titles and marks of distinction unknown in France 
or England : they have their clarissimi and preclaris- 
simi, their accuratissimi and minutissimi ; a round cap 
entities one student to argue, and a square cap per- 
mits another to teach ; while a cap with a tassel al- 
most sanctifies the head it happens to cover. But, 
where true knowledge is cultivated, these formali- 
ties begin to disappear ; the ermined cowl, the sol- 
emn beard, and sweeping train are laid aside ; phi- 
losophers dress, and talk, and think like other men ; 
and lambskin dressers, and capmakers, and tail-car- 
riers now deplore a literary age. 

For my own part, my friend, I have seen enough 
of presuming ignorance never to venerate wisdom 
but where it actually appears. I have received lit- 
erary titles and distinctions myself; and, by the 
quantity of my own wisdom, know how very little 
wisdom they can confer. Adieu. 



202 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



FROM THE SAME. 

The intended Coronation described. 

The time for the young king's coronation ap- 
proaches ; the great and the little world look for- 
ward with impatience. A knight from the country, 
who has brought up his family to see and be seen 
on this occasion, has taken all the lower part of the 
house where I lodge. His wife is laying in a large 
quantity of silks, which the mercer tells her are to 
be fashionable next season ; and miss, her daughter, 
has actually had her ears bored previous to the cer- 
emony. In all this bustle of preparation I am con- 
sidered as mere lumber, and have been shoved up 
two stories higher to make room for others my 
landlady seems perfectly convinced are my betters ; 
but whom, before me, she is contented with only 
calling very good company. 

The little beau, who has now forced himself into 
my intimacy, was yesterday giving me a most mi- 
nute detail of the intended procession. All men are 
eloquent upon their favourite topic : and this seem- 
ed peculiarly adapted to the size and turn of his un- 
derstanding. His whole mind was blazoned over 
with a variety of glittering images ; coronets, es- 
cutcheons, lace, fringe, tassels, stones, bugles, and 
spun glass. " Here, 1 ' cried he, " Garter is to walk ; 
and there Rouge Dragon marches with the escutch- 
eons on his back. Here Clarencieux moves for- 
ward ; and there Blue Mantle disdains to be left be- 
hind. Here the aldermen march two and two ; and 
there the undaunted champion of England, no way 
terrified at the very numerous appearance of gentle- 
men and ladies, rides forward in complete armour, 
and, with an intrepid air, throws down his glove. 
Ah !" continues he, " should any be so hardy as to 
take up that fatal glove, and so accept the challenge, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 203 

we should see fine sport ; the champion would show 
him no mercy ; he would soon teach him all his 
passes with a witness. However, I am afraid we 
shall have none willing to try it with him upon the 
approaching occasion, for two reasons : first, be- 
cause his antagonist would stand a chance of being 
killed in the single combat ; and, secondly, because, 
if he escapes the champion's arm, he would certain- 
ly be hanged for treason. No, no, I fancy none will 
be so hardy as to dispute it with a champion like 
him inured to arms ; and we shall probably see him 
prancing unmolested away, holding his bridle thus 
in one hand, and brandishing his dram-cup in the 
other." 

Some men have a manner of describing which 
only wraps the subject in more than former obscu- 
rity : thus I was unable, with all my companion's 
volubility, to form a distinct idea of the intended 
procession. I was certain that the inauguration of 
a king should be conducted with solemnity and re- 
ligious awe ; and I could not be persuaded that there 
was much solemnity in his description. " If this be 
true," cried I to myself, " the people of Europe 
surely have a strange manner of mixing solemn and 
fantastic images together ; pictures at once replete 
with burlesque and the sublime. At a time when 
the king enters into the most solemn compact with 
his people, nothing surely should be admitted to di- 
minish from the real majesty of the ceremony. A 
ludicrous image brought in at such a time throws an 
air of ridicule upon the whole. It some way resem- 
bles a picture I have seen, designed by Albert Du- 
rer, where, amid all the solemnity of that awful 
scene, a deity judging, and a trembling world await- 
ing the decree, he has introduced a merry mortal 
trundling Ins scolding wife to hell in a wheel- 
barrow." 

My companion, who mistook my silence during 
this interval of reflection for the rapture of astonish- 



204 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ment, proceeded to describe those frivolous parts of 
the show that mostly struck his imagination ; and 
to assure me that, if I stayed in this country some 
months longer, I should see fine things. " For my 
own part," continued he, " I know already of fifteen 
suits of clothes that would stand on one end with 
gold lace, all designed to be first shown there ; and 
as for diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls, we 
shall see them as thick as brass nails in a sedan 
chair. And then Ave are all to walk so majestically, 
thus ; this foot always behind the foot before. The 
ladies are to fling nosegays ; the court poets to scat- 
ter verses ; the spectators are to be all in full dress ; 
Mrs. Tibbs in a new sacque, ruffles, and Frenched 
hair : look where you will, one thing finer than an- 
other : Mrs. Tibbs courtesies to the duchess ; her 
grace returns the compliment with a bow. ' Lar- 
gess,' cries the herald. ' Make room,' cries the gen- 
tleman usher. ' Knock him down,' cries the guard. 
Ah !" continued he, amazed at his own description, 
" what an astonishing scene of grandeur can art pro- 
duce from the smallest circumstance, when it thus 
actually turns to wonder one man putting on another 
man's hat." 

I now found his mind was entirely set upon the 
fopperies of the pageant, and quite regardless of the 
real meaning of such costly preparations. " Pa- 
geants," says Bacon, " are pretty things ; but we 
should rather study to make them elegant than ex- 
pensive ;" processions, cavalcades, and all that fund 
of gay frippery furnished out by tailors, barbers, and 
tirewomen, mechanically influence the mind into 
veneration : an emperor in his nightcap would meet 
with half the respect of an emperor with a glitter- 
ing crown. Politics resemble religion ; attempting 
to divest either of ceremony is the most certain 
method of bringing either into contempt. The 
weak must have their inducements to admiration as 
well as the wise ; and it is the business of a sensi- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 205 

ble government to impress all ranks with a sense of 
subordination, whether this be effected by a diamond 
buckle or a virtuous edict, a sumptuary law or a 
glass necklace. 

This interval of reflection only gave my compan- 
ion spirits to begin his description afresh ; and, as a 
greater inducement to raise my curiosity, he inform- 
ed me of the vast sums that were given by the spec- 
tators for places. " That the ceremony must be 
fine," cries he, " is very evident from the fine price 
that is paid for seeing it. Several ladies have as- 
sured me they could willingly part with one eye rath- 
er than be prevented from looking on with the other. 
Come, come," continues he, " I have a friend who, 
for my sake, will supply us with places at the most 
reasonable rates ; I'll take care you shall not be im- 
posed upon ; and he will inform you of the use, 
finery, rapture, splendour, and enchantment of the 
whole ceremony better than I." 

Follies often repeated lose their absurdity, and as- 
sume the appearance of reason : his arguments were 
so often and so strongly enforced, that I had actu- 
ally some thoughts of becoming a spectator. We 
accordingly went together to bespeak a place ; but 
guess my surprise when the man demanded a purse 
of gold for a single seat ! I could hardly believe 
him serious upon making the demand. " Prithee, 
friend," cried I, " after 1 have paid twenty pounds 
for sitting here an hour or two, can I bring a part of 
the coronation back I" " No, sir." " How long can 
I live upon it after I am come away !* " Not long, 
sir." " Can a coronation clothe, feed, or fatten 
me ?" " Sir," replied the man, " you seem to be 
under a mistake ; all that you can bring away is the 
pleasure of having it to say that you saw the coro- 
nation." " Blast me !" cries Tibbs, " if that be all, 
there is no need of paying for that, since I am re- 
solved to have that pleasure whether I am there or 
no!" 

Vol. II.— S 



206 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

I am conscious, my friend, that this is but a very 
confused description of the intended ceremony. 
You may object that I neither settle rank, prece- 
dency, nor place ; that I seem ignorant whether 
Gules walks before or behind Garter ; that 1 have 
neither mentioned the dimensions of a lord's cap, 
nor measured the length of a lady's tail. I know 
your delight is in minute description, and this I am, 
unhappily, unqualified from furnishing ; yet, upon the 
whole, I fancy it will be no way comparable to the 
magnificence of our late Emperor Whangti's pro- 
cession when he was married to the moon, at which 
Fum Hoam himself presided in person. Adieu. 



TO THE SAME. 

An Election described. 

The English are at present engaged in celebrating 
a feast which becomes general every seventh year ; 
the Parliament of the nation being then dissolved, 
and another appointed to be chosen. This solemni- 
ty falls infinitely short of our feast of the lanterns 
in magnificence and splendour ; it is also surpassed 
by others of the East in unanimity and pure devo- 
tion : but no festival in the world can compare with 
it for eating. Their eating, indeed, amazes me. 
Had I five hundred heads, and were each head fur- 
nished with brains, yet would they all be insufficient 
to compute the number of cows, pigs, geese, and 
turkeys which upon this occasion die for the good 
of their country ! 

To say the truth, eating seems to make a grand 
ingredient in all English parties of zeal, business, or 
amusement. When a church is to be built or a 
hospital endowed, the directors assemble, and, in- 
stead of consulting upon it, they eat upon it ; by 
which means the business goes forward with sue- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 207 

cess. When the poor are to be relieved, the officers 
appointed to deal out public charity assemble and 
eat upon it : nor has it ever been known that they 
filled the bellies of the poor till they had previously 
satisfied their own. But in the election of magis- 
trates the people seem to exceed all bounds ; the 
merits of a candidate are often measured by the 
number of his treats ; his constituents assemble, 
eat upon him, and lend their applause, not to his in- 
tegrity or sense, but to the quantities of his beef and 
brandy. 

And yet I could forgive this people their plentiful 
meals on this occasion, as it is extremely natural 
for every man to eat a great deal when he gets it 
for nothing ; but what amazes me most is, that all 
this good living no way contributes to improve their 
good-humour. On the contrary, they seem to lose 
their temper as they lose their appetites ; every 
morsel they swallow, and every glass they pour 
down, serves to increase their animosity. Many an 
honest man, before as harmless as a tame rabbit, 
when loaded with a single election dinner, has be- 
come more dangerous than a charged culverin. 
Upon one of these occasions, I have actually seen a 
bloody-minded man-milliner sally forth at the head 
of a mob, determined to face a desperate pastry- 
cook who was general of the opposite party. 

But you must not suppose they are without a pre- 
text for thus beating each other. On the contrary, 
no man here is so uncivilized as to beat his neigh- 
bour without producing very sufficient reasons. 
One candidate, for instance, treats with gin, a spirit 
of their own manufacture ; another always drinks 
brandy, imported from abroad. Brandy is a whole- 
some liquor, gin a liquor wholly their own. This, 
then, furnishes an obvious cause of quarrel : Wheth- 
er it be most reasonable to get drunk with gin or get 
drunk with brandy 1 The mob meet upon the de- 
bate, fight themselves sober, and then draw off to 



208 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

get drunk again, and charge for another encounter. 
So that the English may now properly be said to be 
engaged in war; since, while they are subduing 
their enemies abroad, they are breaking each oth- 
ers' heads at home. 

I lately made an excursion to a neighbouring vil- 
lage in order to be a spectator of the ceremonies 
practised upon this occasion. I left town in com- 
pany with three fiddlers, nine dozen of hams, and a 
corporation poet, which were designed as re-enforce- 
ments to the gin-drinking party. We entered the 
town with a very good face ; the fiddlers, no way 
intimidated by the enemy, kept handling their arms 
up the principal street. By this prudent manoeuvre 
they took peaceable possession of their headquar- 
ters, amid the shouts of multitudes, who seemed 
perfectly rejoiced at hearing their music, but, above 
all, at seeing their bacon. 

I must own I could not avoid being pleased to see 
all ranks of people on this occasion levelled into an 
equality, and the poor, in some measure, enjoying 
the primitive privileges of nature. If there was any 
distinction shown, the lowest of the people seemed 
to receive it from the rich. I could perceive a cob- 
bler with a levee at his door, and a haberdasher giv- 
ing audience from behind his counter. But my re- 
flections were soon interrupted by a mob, who de- 
manded whether I was for the distillery or the brew- 
ery. As these were terms with which I was total- 
ly unacquainted, I chose at first to be silent ; how- 
ever, I know not what might have been the conse- 
quence of my reserve, had not the attention of the 
mob been called off to a skirmish between a brandy- 
drinker's cow and a gin-drinker's mastiff, which turn- 
ed out, greatly to the satisfaction of the mob, in fa- 
vour of the mastiff. 

This spectacle, which afforded high entertainment, 
was at last ended by the appearance of one of the 
candidates, *who came to harangue the mob ; he 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 209 

made a very pathetic speech upon the late excessive 
importation of foreign drams, and the downfall of 
the distillery : I could see some of the audience shed 
tears. He was accompanied in his procession by 
Mrs. Deputy and Mrs. Mayoress. Mrs. Deputy was 
not the least in liquor ; and as for Mrs. Mayoress, 
one of the spectators assured me in the ear that 
" she was a very fine woman before she had the 
smallpox." 

Mixing with the crowd, I was now conducted to 
the hall where the magistrates are chosen ; but what 
tongue can describe this scene of confusion : the 
whole crowd seemed equally inspired with anger, 
jealousy, politics, patriotism, and punch. I remarked 
one figure that was carried up by two men upon this 
occasion. I at first began to pity his infirmities as 
natural, but soon found the fellow so drunk that he 
could not stand : another made his appearance to 
give his vote, but, though he could stand, he actual- 
ly lost the use of his tongue, and remained silent : 
a third, who, though excessively drunk, could both 
stand and speak, being asked the candidate's name 
for whom he voted, could be prevailed upon to make 
no other answer but tobacco and brandy. In short, 
an election-hall seems to be a theatre, where every 
passion is seen without disguise ; a school where 
fools may readily become worse, and where philos- 
ophers may gather wisdom. Adieu. 



TO THE SAME. 

A City Night-piece. 

The clock just struck two : the expiring taper ri- 
ses and sinks in the socket ; the watchman forgets 
the hour in slumber ; the laborious and the happy 
are at rest ; and nothing wakes but meditation, guilt, 
revelry, and despair. The drunkard once more fills 

S 2 



210 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

the destroying bowl, the robber walks his midnight 
round, and the suicide lifts his guilty arm against 
his own sacred person. 

Let me no longer waste the night over the page 
of antiquity or the sallies of contemporary genius ; 
but pursue the solitary walk, where vanity, ever 
changing, but a few hours past, walked before me ; 
where she kept up the pageant, and now, like a 
fro ward child, seems hushed with her own impor- 
tunities. 

What a gloom hangs all around ! The dying lamp 
feebly emits a yellow gleam ; no sound is heard but 
of the chiming clock or the distant watch-dog. All 
the bustle of human pride is forgotten : an hour like 
this may well display the emptiness of human vanity. 

There will come a time when this temporary sol- 
itude may be made continual, and the city itself, 
like its inhabitants, fade away and leave a desert in 
its room. 

What cities as great as this have once triumphed 
in existence, had their victories as great, joy as just 
and as unbounded, and, with short-sighted presump- 
tion, promised themselves immortality ! Posterity 
can hardly trace the situation of some. The sor- 
rowful traveller wanders over the awful ruins of 
others ; and, as he beholds, he learns wisdom, and 
feels the transience of every sublunary possession. 

" Here," he cries, " stood their citadel, now grown 
over with weeds ; there their senate-house, but now 
the haunt of every noxious reptile: temples and 
theatres stood here, now only an undistinguished 
heap of ruin. They are fallen, for luxury and ava- 
rice first made them feeble. The rewards of the 
state were conferred on amusing, and not on useful 
members of society. Their riches and opulence in- 
vited the invaders, who, though at first repulsed, re- 
turned again, conquered by perseverance, and at last 
swept the defendants into undistinguished destruc- 
tion !" 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 211 

How few appear in those streets which but some 
few hours ago were crowded ! and those who appear 
now no longer wear their daily mask, nor attempt 
to hide their lewdness or their misery ! 

But who are these who make the streets their 
couch, and find a short repose from wretchedness at 
the doors of the opulent 1 These are strangers, 
wanderers, and orphans, whose circumstances are 
too humble to expect redress, and whose distresses 
are too great even for pity. Their wretchedness 
excites rather horror than pity. Some are without 
the covering even of rags, and others emaciated with 
disease ; the world has disclaimed them ; society 
turns its back upon their distress, and has given 
them up to nakedness and hunger. These poor 
shivering females have once seen happier days, and 
been flattered into ruin. They have been prostituted 
to the gay luxurious villain, and are now turned out 
to meet the severity of winter. Perhaps, now lying 
at the doors of their betrayers, they sue to wretches 
whose hearts are insensible, or debauchees who may 
curse, but will not relieve them. 

Why, why was I born a man, and yet see the suf- 
ferings of wretches I cannot relieve ? Poor house- 
less creatures ! the world will give you reproaches, 
but will not give you relief. The slightest misfor- 
tunes of the great, the most imaginary uneasinesses 
of the rich, are aggravated with all the power of 
eloquence, and held up to engage our attention and 
sympathetic sorrow. The poor weep unheeded, 
persecuted by every subordinate species of tyranny, 
and every law which gives others security becomes 
an enemy to them. 

Why was this heart of mine formed with so much 
sensibility % or why was not my fortune adapted to 
its impulse? Tenderness, without a capacity of 
relieving, only makes the man who feels it more 
wretched than the object which sues for assistance. 
Adieu. 



212 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT 
OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA. 

On the Distresses of the Poor, exemplified in the life of a Pri- 
vate Sentinel. 

The misfortunes of the great, my friend, are held 
up to engage our attention, are enlarged upon in 
tones of declamation, and the world is called to gaze 
upon the noble sufferers ; they have at once the 
comfort of admiration and pity. 

Yet where is the magnanimity of bearing misfor- 
tunes when the whole world is looking on 1 Men in 
such circumstances can act bravely even from mo- 
tives of vanity. He only who, in the vale of obscu- 
rity, can brave adversity ; who, without friends to 
encourage, acquaintances to pity, or even without 
hope to alleviate his distresses, can behave with 
tranquillity and indifference, is truly great ; whether 
peasant or courtier, he deserves admiration, and 
should be held up for our imitation and respect. 

The miseries of the poor are, however, entirely 
disregarded, though some undergo more real hard- 
ships in one day than the great in their whole lives. 
It is indeed inconceivable what difficulties the mean- 
est English sailor or soldier endures without mur- 
muring or regret. Every day to him is a day of 
misery, and yet he bears his hard fate without re- 
pining. 

With what indignation do I hear the heroes of 
tragedy complain of misfortunes and hardships, 
whose greatest calamity is founded in arrogance 
and pride. Their severest distresses are pleasures 
compared to what many of the adventuring poor 
every day sustain without murmuring. These may 
eat, drink, and sleep, have slaves to attend them, 
and are sure of subsistence for life, while many of 
their fellow-creatures are obliged to wander, with- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 213 

out a friend to comfort or assist them, find enmity in 
every law, and are too poor to obtain even justice. 

I have been led into these reflections from acci- 
dentally meeting, some days ago, a poor fellow beg- 
ging at one of the outlets of the town with a wood- 
en-leg. I was curious to learn what had reduced 
him to his present situation ; and, after giving him 
what I thought proper, desired to know the history 
of his life and misfortunes, and the manner in which 
he was reduced to his present distress. The disa- 
bled soldier, for such he was, with an intrepidity 
truly British, leaning on his crutch, put himsef into 
an attitude to comply with my request, and gave 
me his history as follows : 

" As for misfortunes, sir, I can't pretend to have 
gone through more than others. Except the loss 
of my limb, and my being obliged to beg, I don't 
know any reason, thank Heaven, that I have to 
complain ; there are some who have lost both legs 
and an eye ; but, thank Heaven, it is not quite so 
bad with me. 

" My father was a labourer in the country, and 
died when I was five years old ; so I was put upon 
the parish. As he had been a wandering sort of man, 
the parishioners were not able to tell to what parish 
I belonged, or where I was born ; so they sent me 
to another parish, and that parish sent me to a 
third ; till at last it was thought I belonged to no par- 
ish at all. At length, however, they fixed me. I 
had some disposition to be a scholar, and had actu- 
ally learned my letters ; but the master of the work- 
house put me to business as soon as I was able to 
handle a mallet. 

" Here I lived an easy kind of a life for five years. 
I only worked ten hours in the day, and had my 
meat and drink provided for my labour. It is true 
I was not suffered to stir far from the house, for fear 
I should run away ; but what of that 1 I had the lib- 



214 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

erty of the whole house, and the yard before the 
door, and that was enough for me. 

" I was next bound out to a farmer, where I was 
up both early and late ; but I ate and drank well, 
and liked my business well till he died. Being then 
obliged to provide for myself, I was resolved to go 
and seek my fortune. Thus I lived, and went from 
town to town, working when I could get employ- 
ment, and starving when I could get none, and might 
have lived so still; but, happening one day to go 
through a field belonging to a magistrate, I spied a 
hare crossing the path just before me. I believe 
the devil put it in my head to fling my stick at it. 
Well, what will you have on't 1 I killed the hare, 
and was bringing it away in triumph, when the jus- 
tice himself met me ; he called me a villain, and, 
collaring me, desired I would give an account of 
myself. 1 began immediately to give a full account 
of all that I knew of my breed, seed, and genera- 
tion ; but, though I gave a very long account, the 
justice said I could give no account of myself; so I 
was endicted, and found guilty of being poor, and 
sent to Newgate in order to be transported to the 
plantations. 

" People may say this and say that of being in 
jail, but, for my part, 1 found Newgate as agreeable a 
place as ever I was in in all my life. I had my bel- 
lyful to eat and drink, and did no work ; but, alas ! 
this kind of life was too good to last for ever ! I 
was taken out of prison after five months, put on 
board of a ship, and sent off with two hundred more. 
Our passage was but indifferent, for we were all 
confined in the hold, and died very fast for want of 
sweet air and provisions ; but, for my part, I did not 
want meat, because I had a fever all the way. 
Providence was kind : when provisions grew short, 
it took away my desire of eating. When we came 
on shore we were sold to the planters. I was 
bound for seven years ; and, as I was no scholar — for 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 215 

I had forgot, my letters — 1 was obliged to work among 
the negroes, and served out my time, as in duty 
bound to do. 

" When my time was expired I worked my pas- 
sage home ; and glad I was to see Old England 
again, because I loved my country. Oh, liberty! 
liberty ! liberty ! that is the property of every Eng- 
lishman, and 1 will die in its defence ! I was afraid, 
however, that I should be endicted for a vagabond 
once more, so I did not much care to go into the 
country, but kept about town, and did little jobs when 
I could get them. I was very happy in this manner 
for some time, till one evening, coming home from 
work, two men knocked me down, and then desired 
me to stand still. They belonged to a pressgang ; 
I was carried before the justice, and, as 1 could give 
no account of myself — that was the thing that always 
hobbled me — I had my choice left, whether to go on 
board a man-of-war or list for a soldier. I chose to 
be a soldier ; and in this post of a gentleman I served 
two campaigns in Flanders, was at the battles of Val 
and Fontenoy, and received but one wound through 
the breast, which is troublesome to this day. 

" When the peace came on, I was discharged ; 
and, as I could not work, because my wound was 
sometimes painful, I listed for a landman in the 
East India Company's service. I here fought the 
French in six pitched battles ; and verily believe 
that, if I could read or write, our captain would have 
given me promotion, and made me a corporal. But 
that was not my good fortune ; I soon fell sick, and, 
when I became good for nothing, got leave to return 
home again, with forty pounds in my pocket, which 
1 saved in the service. This was at the beginning 
of the present war ; so I hoped to be set on shore, 
and to have the pleasure of spending my money; 
but the government wanted men, and I was pressed 
again before ever I could set foot on shore. 

The boatswain found me, as he said, an obsti- 



(t 



216 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

nate fellow. He swore that I understood my busi- 
ness perfectly well, but that I shammed Abraham 
merely to be idle ; but, God knows ! I knew nothing 
of sea-business. He beat me without considering 
what he was about. But still my forty pounds was 
some comfort to me under every beating; the money 
was my comfort, and the money I might have had 
to this day, but that our ship was taken by the 
French, and so I lost it all ! 

" Our crew was carried into a French prison, and 
many of them died, because they were not used to 
live in a jail ; but, for my part, it was nothing to 
me, for I was seasoned. One night, however, as I 
was sleeping on the bed of boards, with a warm 
blanket about me — for I always loved to lie well — I 
was awakened by the boatswain, who had a dark lan- 
tern in his hand. ' Jack,' says he to me, ' will you 
knock out the French sentry's brains V 'I don't 
care,' says I, striving to keep myself awake, ' if I 
lend a hand.' ' Then follow me,' says he, ' and I 
hope we shall do his business.' So up I got, and 
tied my blanket, which was all the clothes I had, 
about my middle, and went with him to fight the 
Frenchmen. We had no arms; but one English- 
man is able to beat five French at any time ; so we 
went down to the door, where both the sentries 
were posted, and, rushing upon them, seized their 
arms in a moment, and knocked them down. From 
thence nine of us ran together to the quay, and, 
seizing the first open boat we met, got out of the 
harbour and put to sea ; we had not been here three 
days before we were taken up by an English priva- 
teer, who was glad of so many good hands, and we 
consented to run our chance. However, we had not 
so much luck as we expected. In three days we 
fell in with a French man-of-war, of forty guns, 
while we had but twenty-three ; so to it we went. 
The fight lasted for three" hours ; and I verily believe 
we should have taken the Frenchman, but, unfortu- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 217 

nately, we lost all our men just as we were going 
to get the victory. I was once more in the power 
of the French, and I believe it would have gone hard 
with me had 1 been brought back to my old jail in 
Brest ; but, by good fortune, we were retaken, and 
carried to England once more. 

" I had almost forgot to tell you, that in this last 
engagement I was wounded in two places ; I lost 
four fingers of the left hand, and my leg was shot 
off. Had I had the good fortune to have lost my leg 
and the use of my hand on board a king's ship and 
not a privateer, I should have been entitled to cloth- 
ing and maintenance during the rest of my life ; but 
that was not my chance. One man is born with a 
silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a wood- 
en ladle. However, blessed be God, I enjoy good 
health, and have no enemy in this world that 1 know 
of but the French and the justice of peace." 

Thus saying, he limped off, leaving my friend and 
me in admiration of his intrepidity and content ; nor 
could we avoid acknowledging that an habitual ac- 
quaintance with misery is the truest school of forti- 
tude and philosophy. Adieu. 



FROM THE SAME. 

On the Absurdity of some late English Titles. 

The titles of European princes are rather more 
numerous than those of Asia, but by no means so 
sublime. The King of Visapour or Pegu, not satis- 
fied with claiming the globe and all its appurtenan- 
ces to him and his heirs, asserts a property even in 
the firmament, and extends his orders to the Milky 
Way. The monarchs of Europe, with more modes- 
ty, confine their titles to earth, but make up by num- 
ber what is wanting in their sublimity. Such is 
their passion for a long list of these splendid trifles, 

Vol. II.— T 



218 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

that I have known a German prince with more titles 
than subjects, and a Spanish nobleman with more 
names than shirts. 

Contrary to this, " the English monarchs," says a 
writer of the last century, " disdain to accept of such 
titles which tend only to increase their pride with- 
out improving their glory ; they are above depend- 
ing on the feeble helps of heraldry for respect, per- 
fectly satisfied with the consciousness of acknowl- 
edged power." At present, however, these maxims 
are laid aside : the English monarchs have assumed 
new titles, and have impressed their coins with the 
names and arms of obscure dukedoms, petty states, 
and subordinate employments. Their design in this, 
I make no doubt, was laudably to add new lustre to 
the British throne ; but, in reality, paltry claims only 
serve to diminish that respect they are designed to 
secure. 

There is, in the honours assumed by kings, as in 
the decorations of architecture, a majestic simplici- 
ty, which best conduces to inspire our reverence and 
respect ; numerous and trifling ornaments in either 
are strong indications of meanness in the designer, 
or of concealed deformity : should, for instance, the 
Emperor of China, among other titles, assume that 
of deputy mandarine of Maccau ; or the monarch of 
Great Britain, France, and Ireland desire to be ac- 
knowledged as Duke of Brentford, Lunenburg, or 
Lincoln, the observer revolts at this mixture of im- 
portant and paltry claims, and forgets the emperor 
in his familiarity with the duke or the deputy. 

I remember a similar instance of this inverted am- 
bition in the illustrious King of Manacabo, upon his 
first treaty with the Portuguese. Among the pres- 
ents that were made him by the ambassador of that 
nation, was a sword with a brass hilt, which he 
seemed to set a peculiar value upon. This he 
thought too great an acquisition to his glory to be 
forgotten among the number of his titles. He there- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 219 

fore gave orders that his subjects should style him, 
for the future, " Talipot, the immortal potentate of 
Manacabo, Messenger of the Morning, Enhgfrtener 
of the Sun, Possessor of the whole Earth, and 
mighty Monarch of the Brass-handled Sword." 

This method of mixing majestic and paltry titles, 
of quartering the arms of a great empire and an ob- 
scure province upon the same medal here, had its 
rise in the virtuous partiality of their late monarchs. 
Willing to testify an affection to their native coun- 
try, they gave its name and ensigns a place upon 
their corns, and thus, in some measure, ennobled its 
obscurity. It was indeed but just, that a people 
which had given England up their king should re- 
ceive some honorary equivalent in return ; but, at 
present, these motives, are no more. England has 
now a monarch wholly British, and it has some rea- 
son to hope for British titles upon British coins. 

However, were the money of England designed 
to circulate in Germany, there would be no flagrant 
impropriety in impressing it with German names 
and arms ; but, though this might have been so on 
former occasions, I am told there is no danger of it 
for the future. As England, therefore, designs to 
keep back its gold, I candidly think Lunenburg, Ol- 
denburg, and the rest of them may very well keep 
back their titles. 

It is a mistaken prejudice in princes to think that 
a number of loud-sounding names can give new 
claims to respect. The truly great have ever dis- 
dained them. When Timur the Lame had conquered 
Asia, an orator by profession came to compliment 
him upon the occasion. He began his harangue 
by styling him the most omnipotent and the most 
glorious object of the creation ; the emperor seemed 
displeased with his paltry adulation, yet still he went 
on complimenting him as the most mighty, the most 
valiant, and the most perfect of beings. " Hold, 
there, my friend!" cries the lame emperor; "hold, 



220 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

there, till I have got another leg !" In fact, the fee- 
ble or the despotic alone find pleasure in multiply- 
ing these pageants of vanity ; but strength and free- 
dom have nobler aims, and often find the finest ad- 
ulations in majestic simplicity. 

The young monarch of this country has already 
testified a proper contempt for several unmeaning 
appendages on royalty ; cooks and scullions have 
been obliged to quit their fires ; gentlemen's gentle- 
men, and the whole tribe of necessary people who 
did nothing, have been dismissed from farther ser- 
vices. " A youth who can thus bring back simplici- 
ty and frugality to a court, will soon, probably, have 
a true respect for his own glory ; and, while he has 
dismissed all useless employments, may disdain to 
accept of empty or degrading titles. Adieu. 



TO THE SAME. 

The Manner of Travellers in their usual Relations ridiculed. 

My long residence here begins to fatigue me. As 
every object ceases to be new, it no longer contin- 
ues to be pleasing. Some minds are so fond of va- 
riety, that pleasure itself, if permanent, would be 
insupportable ; and we are thus obliged to solicit 
new happiness even by courting distress. I only, 
therefore, wait the arrival of my son to vary this tri- 
fling scene, and borrow new pleasure from danger and 
fatigue. A life, I own, thus spent in wandering 
from place to place, is at best but empty dissipation. 
But to pursue trifles is the lot of humanity ; and, 
whether we bustle in a pantomime or strut at a cor- 
onation ; whether we shout at a bonfire or harangue 
in a senate-house ; whatever object we follow, it 
will at last surely conduct us to futility and disap- 
pointment. The wise bustle and laugh as they walk 
in the pageant, but fools bustle and are important ; 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 221 

and this, probably, is all the difference between 
them. 

This may be an apology for the levity of my for- 
mer correspondence. I talked of trifles, and I knew 
that they were trifles ; to make the things of this 
life ridiculous, it is only sufficient to call them by 
their names. 

In other respects I have omitted several striking 
circumstances in the description of this country, as 
supposing them either already known to you, or as 
not being thoroughly known to myself; but there 
is one omission for which I expect no forgiveness, 
namely, my being totally silent upon their buildings, 
roads, rivers, and mountains. This is a branch of 
science on which all other travellers are so very 
prolix, that my deficiency will appear the more 
glaring. With what pleasure, for instance, do some 
read of a traveller in Egypt measuring a fallen col- 
umn with his cane, and finding it exactly five feet 
nine inches long ; of his creeping through the mouth 
of a catacomb, and coming out by a different hole 
from that he entered ; of his stealing the finger of 
an antique statue, in spite of the janizary that 
watched him ; or his adding a new conjecture to the 
hundred and fourteen conjectures already published 
upon the names of Osiris and Isis. 

Methinks I hear some of my friends in China de- 
manding a similar account of London and the adja- 
cent villages ; and, if I remain here much longer, it 
is probable I may gratify their curiosity. I intend, 
when run dry on other topics, to make a serious 
survey of the city wall ; to describe that beautiful 
building, the Mansion House ; I will enumerate the 
magnificent squares in which the nobility chiefly 
reside, and the royal palace appointed for the recep- 
tion of the English monarch ; nor will I forget the 
beauties of Shoe Lane, in which I myself have re- 
sided since my arrival. You shall find me no way 
inferior to many of my brother travellers in the art 

T2 



222 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

of description. At present, however, as a specimen 
of this way of writing, I send you a few hasty re- 
marks, collected in a late journey I made to Kent- 
ish-town, and this in the modern voyagers' style. 

" Having heard much of Kentish-town, 1 con- 
ceived a strong desire to see that celebrated place, 
I could have wished, indeed, to satisfy my curiosity 
without going thither ; but that was impracticable, 
and therefore I resolved to go. Travellers have 
two methods of going to Kentish-town : they take 
coach, which costs ninepence, or they may go afoot, 
which costs nothing ; in my opinion, a coach is by 
far the most eligible convenience ; but I was re- 
solved to go on foot, having considered with myself 
that going in that manner would be the cheapest 
way. 

" As you set out from Doghouse Bar, you enter 
upon a fine level road, railed in on both sides, com- 
manding on the right a fine prospect of groves and 
fields, enamelled with flowers, which would wonder- 
fully charm the sense of smelling were it not for a 
dunghill on the left, which mixes its effluvia with 
their odours. This dunghill is of much greater an- 
tiquity than the road ; and I must not omit a piece 
of injustice I was going to commit upon this occa- 
sion. My indignation was leveUed against the ma- 
kers of the dunghill for having brought it so near 
the road, whereas it should have fallen upon the 
makers of the road for having brought that so near 
the dunghill. 

" After proceeding in this manner for some time, 
a building, resembling somewhat a triumphal arch, 
salutes the traveller's view. This structure, howev- 
er, is peculiar to this country, and vulgarly called a 
turnpike gate. I could perceive a long inscription in 
large characters on the front, probably upon the oc- 
casion of some triumph ; but, being in haste, I left 
it to be made out by some subsequent adventurer 
who may happen to travel this way ; so, continuing 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 223 

my course to the west, I soon arrived at an unwall- 
ed town called Islington. 

" Islington is a pretty, neat town, mostly built of 
brick, with a church and bells : it has a small lake, 
or, rather, pond in the midst, though at present very 
much neglected. I am told it is dry in summer : if 
this be the case, it can be no veiy proper receptacle 
for fish, of which the inhabitants themselves seem 
sensible, by bringing all that is eaten there from 
Loudon. 

" After having surveyed the curiosities of this fair 
and beautiful town, I proceeded forward, leaving a 
fair stone building, called the White Conduit House, 
on my right. Here the inhabitants of London often 
assemble to celebrate a feast of hot rolls and butter : 
seeing such numbers, each with their little tables 
before them, employed on this occasion, must no 
doubt be a very pleasing sight to the looker-on, but 
still more so to those who perform in the solemnity. 

" From hence I parted with reluctance to Pan- 
eras, as it is written, or Pancridge, as it is pro- 
nounced ; but which should be both pronounced and 
written Pangrace. This emendation I will venture 
meo arbitrio ; Pan, in the Greek language, signifies 
all, which, added to the English word grace, maketh 
all-grace, or pan-grace ; and, indeed, this is a very 
proper appellation to a place of so much sanctity as 
Pangrace is universally esteemed. However this 
may be, if you except the parish church and its fine 
bells, there is little in Pangrace worth the attention 
of the curious observer. 

" From Pangrace to Kentish-town is an easy jour- 
ney of one mile and a quarter ; the road lies through 
a fine champaign country, well watered with beau- 
tiful drains, and enamelled with flowers of all kinds, 
which might contribute to charm every sense, were 
it not that the odoriferous gales are often more im- 
pregnated with dust than perfume. 

•" As you enter Kentish-town, the eye is at once 



224 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

presented with the shops of artificers, such as vend- 
ers of candles, small-coal, and hair-brooms ; there 
are also several august buildings of red brick, with 
numberless signposts, or, rather, pillars, in a pecu- 
liar order of architecture. I send you a drawing of 
several, vide A. B. C. This pretty town probably 
borrows its name from its vicinity to the county of 
Kent ; and, indeed, it is not unnatural that it should, 
as there are only London and the adjacent villages 
that he between them. Be this as it will, perceiv- 
ing night approach, I made a hasty repast on roast- 
ed mutton and a certain dried fruit called potatoes, 
resolving to protract my remarks upon my return : 
and this I would very willingly have done, but was 
prevented by a circumstance which, in truth, I had 
for some time foreseen : for, night coming on, it was 
impossible to take a proper survey of the country, 
as I was obliged to return home in the dark." 
Adieu. 



TO THE SAME. 

The Conclusion. 

After a variety of disappointments, my wishes 
are at length fully satisfied. My son, so long ex- 
pected, is arrived, at once by his presence banishing 
my anxiety, and opening a new scene of unexpected 
pleasure. His improvements in mind and person 
have far surpassed even the sanguine expectations 
of a father. I left him a boy, but he is returned a 
man ; pleasing in his person, hardened by travel, and 
polished by adversity. His disappointment in love, 
however, had infused an air of melancholy into his 
conversation, which seemed, at intervals, to interrupt 
our mutual satisfaction. I expected that this could 
find a cure only from time ; but Fortune, as if will- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 225 

ing to load us with her favours, has, in a moment, 
repaid uneasiness with rapture. 

Two days after his arrival, the man in black, with 
his beautiful niece, came to congratulate us upon 
this pleasing occasion ; but guess our surprise, when 
my friend's lovely kinswoman was found to be the 
very captive my son had rescued from Persia, and 
who had been wrecked on the Wolga, and was car- 
ried by the Russian peasants to the port of Archan- 
gel. Were I to hold the pen of a novelist, I might 
be prolix in describing their feelings at so unexpect- 
ed an interview; but you may conceive their joy 
without my assistance ; words were unable to ex- 
press their transports, then how can words describe 
it] 

When two young persons are sincerely enamour- 
ed of each other, nothing can give such pleasure as 
seeing them married ; whether I know the parties 
or not, I am happy at thus binding one link more in 
the universal chain. Nature has, in some measure, 
formed me for a matchmaker, and given me a soul 
to sympathize with every mode of human felicity. 
I instantly, therefore, consulted the man in black, 
whether we might not crown their mutual wishes by- 
marriage ; his soul seems formed of similar materi- 
als with mine : he instantly gave his consent, and 
the next day was appointed for the solemnization of 
their nuptials. 

All the acquaintances which I had made since my 
arrival were present at this gay solemnity. The 
little beau was constituted master of the ceremo- 
nies, and his wife, Mrs. Tibbs, conducted the enter- 
tainment with proper decorum. The man in black 
and the pawnbroker's widow were very sprightly 
and tender upon this occasion. The widow was 
dressed up under the direction of Mr. Tibbs ; and 
as for her lover, his face was set off by the assist- 
ance of a pigtail wig, which was lent by the little 
beau, to fit him for making love with proper formal^ 



226 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ity. The whole company easily perceived that it 
would be a double wedding before all was over, and, 
indeed, my friend and the widow seemed to make 
no secret of their passion ; he even called me aside, 
in order to know my candid opinion whether I did 
not think him a little too old to be married. " As 
for my own part," continued he, " I know I am go- 
ing to play the fool ; but all my friends will praise 
my wisdom, and produce me as the very pattern of 
discretion to others." 

At dinner everything seemed to run on with good- 
humour, harmony, and satisfaction. Every creature 
in company thought themselves pretty, and every 
jest was laughed at ; the man in black sat next his 
mistress, helped her plate, chimed her glass, and, 
jogging her knees and her elbow, he whispered 
something arch in her ear, on which she patted his 
cheek ; never was antiquated passion so playful, so 
harmless, and amusing, as between this reverend 
couple. 

The second course was now called for, and, among 
a variety of other dishes, a fine turkey was placed 
before the widow. The Europeans, you know, carve 
as they eat ; my friend, therefore, begged his mis- 
tress to help him to a part of the turkey. The 
widow, pleased with an opportunity of showing her 
skill in carving, an art upon which, it seems, she 
piqued herself, began to cut it up by first taking off 
the leg. " Madam," cries my friend, " if I may be 
permitted to advise, I would begin by first cutting 
off" the wing, and then the leg will come off" more 
easily." " Sir," replies the widow, " give me leave 
to understand cutting up a fowl ; I always begin with 
the leg." " Yes, madam," replies the lover ; " but, if 
the wing be the most convenient manner, I would 
begin with the wing." "Sir," interrupts the lady, 
" when you have fowls of your own, begin at the 
wing if you please ; but give me leave to take off 
the leg. I hope I am not to be taught at this time 
of the day." " Madam," interrupts he, " we are nev- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 227 

er too old to be instructed." " Old, sir !" interrupts 
the other; " who is old, sir] When I die of age, I 
know some that will quake for fear : if the leg does 
not come off, take the turkey to yourself." " Mad- 
am," replied the man in black, " I don't care a far- 
thing whether the leg or the wing comes off: if you 
are for the leg first, why you shall have the argu- 
ment, even though it be as I say." " As for the 
matter of that," cries the widow, " I don't care a fig 
whether you are for the leg off or on ; and, friend, 
for the future, keep your distance." " Oh," replied 
the other, "that is easily done ; it is only moving to 
the other end of the table ; and so, madam, your 
most obedient, humble servant." 

Thus was this courtship of an age destroyed in 
one moment ; for this dialogue effectually broke off 
the match between this respectable couple, that had 
been but just concluded. The smallest accidents 
disappoint the most important treaties.- However, 
though it in some measure interrupted the general 
satisfaction, it in nowise lessened the happiness of 
the youthful couple ; and, by the young lady's looks, 
I could perceive she was not entirely displeased 
with this interruption. 

In a few hours the whole transaction seemed en- 
tirely forgotten, and we have all since enjoyed those 
satisfactions which result from a consciousness of 
making each other happy. My son and his fair 
partner are fixed here for life : the man in black has- 
given them up a small estate in the country, which, 
added to what I was able to bestow, will be capable 
of supplying all the real, but not the fictitious de- 
mands of happiness. As for myself, the world being 
but one city to me, I don't much care in which of 
the streets I reside. I shall therefore spend the re- 
mainder of my life in examining the manners of the 
different countries, and have prevailed upon the man 
in black to be my companion. " They must often 
change," says Confucius, " who would be constant 
in happiness or wisdom." Adieu. 



MISCELLANEOUS. 



MISCELLANEOUS. 



THE HISTORY OF HYPASIA. 

Man, when secluded from society, is not a more 
solitary being than the woman who leaves the du- 
ties of her own sex to invade the privileges of ours. 
She seems, in such circumstances, like one in ban- 
ishment ; she appears like a neutral being between 
the sexes ; and, though she may have the admira- 
tion of both, she finds true happiness from neither. 

Of all the ladies of antiquity I have read of, none 
was ever more justly celebrated than the beautiful 
Hypasia, the daughter of Leon the philosopher. 
This most accomplished of women was born at Al- 
exandra, in the reign of Theodosius the younger. 
Nature was never more lavish of its gifts than it had 
been to her, endued as she was with the most exalt- 
ed understanding, and the happiest turn to science. 
Education completed what nature had begun, and 
made her the prodigy not only of her own age, but 
the glory of her sex. 

From her father she learned geometry and astron- 
omy ; she collected from the conversation and 
schools of the other philosophers, for which Alex- 
andrea was at that time famous, the principles of the 
rest of the sciences. 

What cannot be conquered by natural penetration 
and a passion for study? The boundless knowl- 
edge which, at that period of time, was required to 
form the character of a philosopher, no way discour- 
aged her : she delivered herself up to the study of 
Aristotle and Plato, and soon not one in all Alexan- 



232 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

drea understood so perfectly as she all the difficul- 
ties of these two philosophers. 

But not their systems alone, but those of every 
other sect, were quite familiar to her ; and to this 
knowledge she added that of polite learning, and the 
art of oratory. All the learning which it was pos- 
sible for the human mind to contain, being joined to 
a most enchanting eloquence, rendered this lady the 
wonder, not only of the populace, who easily admire, 
but of philosophers themselves, who are seldom fond 
of admiration. 

The city of Alexandrea was every day crowded 
with strangers, who came from all parts of Greece 
and Asia to see and hear her. As for the charms 
of her person, they might not probably have been 
mentioned, did she not join to a beauty the most 
striking, a virtue that might repress the most as- 
suming ; and though in the whole capital, famed for 
charms, there was not one who could equal her in 
beauty ; though in a city, the resort of all the learn- 
ing then existing in the world, there was not one 
who could equal her in knowledge, yet, with such 
accomplishments, Hypasia was the most modest of 
her sex. Her reputation for virtue was not less 
than her virtues ; and, though in a city divided be- 
tween two factions, though visited by the wits and 
philosophers of the age, calumny never dared to sus- 
pect her morals or attempt her character. Both the 
Christians and the heathens who have transmitted 
her history and her misfortunes, have but one voice 
when they speak of her beauty, her knowledge, and 
her virtue. Nay, so much harmony reigns in their 
accounts of this prodigy of perfection, that, in spite 
of the opposition of their faith, Ave should never have 
been able to judge of what religion was Hypasia, 
were we not informed from other circumstances 
that she was a heathen. Providence had taken so 
much pains in forming her, that we are almost in- 
duced to complain of its not having endeavoured to 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 233 

make her a Christian ; but from this complaint we 
are deterred by a thousand contrary observations, 
which lead us to reverence its inscrutable mysteries. 

This great reputation, of which she so justly was 
possessed, was at last, however, the occasion of her 
ruin. 

The person who then possessed the patriarchate 
of Alexandrea was equally remarkable for his vio- 
lence, cruelty, and pride. Conducted by an ill- 
grounded zeal for the Christian religion, or, per- 
haps, desirous of augmenting his authority in the 
city, he had long meditated the banishment of the 
Jews. A difference arising between them and the 
Christians with respect to some public games, seem- 
ed to him a proper juncture for putting his ambitious 
design into execution. He found no difficulty in ex- 
citing the people, naturally disposed to revolt. The 
prefect who at that time commanded the city inter- 
posed on this occasion, and thought it just to put 
one of the chief creatures of the patriarch to the 
torture, in order to discover the first promoter of 
the conspiracy. The patriarch, enraged at the in- 
justice he thought offered to his character and dig- 
nity, and piqued at the protection which was offered 
to the Jews, sent for the chiefs of the synagogue, 
and enjoined them to renounce their designs, upon 
the pain of incurring his highest displeasure. 

The Jews, far from fearing his menaces, excited 
new tumults, ih which several citizens had the mis- 
fortune to fall. The patriarch could no longer con- 
tain : at the head of a numerous body of Christians, 
he flew to the synagogues, which he demolished, and 
drove the Jews from a city of which they had been 
possessed since the times of Alexander the Great. 
It may easily be imagined that the prefect could not 
behold, without pain, his jurisdiction thus insulted, 
and the city deprived of a number of its most indus- 
trious inhabitants. 

The affair was therefore brought before the em? 

U2 



234 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

peror. The patriarch complained of the excesses 
of the Jews, and the prefect of the outrages of the 
patriarch. At this very juncture five hundred monks 
of Mount Nitria, imagining the life of their chief to 
be in danger, and that their religion was threatened 
in his fall, flew into the city with ungovernable rage, 
attacked the prefect in the streets, and, not content 
with loading him with reproaches, wounded him in 
several places. 

The citizens had, by this time, notice of the fury 
of the monks ; they therefore assembled in a body, 
put the monks to flight, seized on him who had been 
found throwing a stone, and delivered him to the 
prefect, who caused him to be put to death without 
farther delay. 

The patriarch immediately ordered the dead body 
which had been exposed to view to be taken down, 
procured for it all the pomp and rites of burial, and 
went even so far as himself to pronounce the fu- 
neral oration, in which he classed a seditious monk 
among the martyrs. This conduct was by no means 
generally approved of; the most moderate even 
among the Christians perceived and blamed his in- 
discretion ; but he was now too far advanced to re- 
tire. He had made several overtures towards a rec- 
onciliation with the prefect, which not succeeding, 
he bore all those an implacable hatred whom he 
imagined to have had any hand in traversing his de- 
signs ; but Hypasia was particularly destined to ruin. 
She could not find pardon, as she was known to have 
a most refined friendship for the prefect ; wherefore 
the populace were incited against her. Peter, a 
reader of the principal church, one of those vile 
slaves by which men in power are too frequently 
attended — wretches ever ready to commit any crime 
which they hope may render them agreeable to their 
employer — this fellow, I say, attended by a crowd 
of villains, waited for Hypasia, as she was return- 
ing from a visit, at her own door, seized her as she 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 235 

was going in, and dragged her to one of the churches 
called Cesarea, where, stripping her in a most in- 
human manner, they exercised the most inhuman 
cruelties upon her, cut her into pieces, and burned 
her remains to ashes. Such was the end of Hypa- 
sia, the glory of her own sex and the astonishment 
of ours. 



ON JUSTICE AND GENEROSITY. 

Lysippus is a man whose greatness of soul the 
whole world admires. His generosity is such that 
it prevents a demand, and saves the receiver the 
trouble and confusion of a request. His liberality, 
also, does not oblige more by its greatness than by 
his inimitable grace in giving. Sometimes he even 
distributes his bounties to strangers, and has been 
known to do good offices to those who professed 
themselves his enemies. All the world are unani- 
mous in the praise of his generosity ; there is only 
one sort of people who complain of his conduct : 
Lysippus does not pay his debts. 

It is no difficult matter to account for a conduct 
so seemingly incompatible with itself. There is 
greatness in being generous, and there is only sim- 
ple justice in satisfying his creditors. Generosity 
is the part of a soul raised above the vulgar. There 
is in it something of what we admire in heroes, and 
praise with a degree of rapture. Justice, on the 
contrary, is a mere mechanic virtue, fit only for 
tradesmen, and what is practised by every broker in 
'Change Alley. 

In paying his debts a man barely does his duty, 
and it is an action attended with no sort of glory. 
Should Lysippus satisfy his creditors, w^ho w^ould be 
at the pains of telling it to the world ? Generosity 
is a virtue of a very different complexion. It is 



236 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

raised above duty, and from its elevation attracts 
the attention and the praises of us little mortals be- 
low. 

In this manner do men generally reason upon jus- 
tice and generosity. The first is despised, though a 
virtue essential to the good of society ; and the oth- 
er attracts our esteem, which too frequently pro- 
ceeds from an impetuosity of temper, rather dictated 
by vanity than reason. Lysippus is told that his 
banker asks a debt of forty pounds, and that a dis- 
tressed acquaintance petitions for the same sum. 
He gives it without hesitating to the latter ; for he 
demands as a favour what the former requires as a 
debt. 

Mankind in general are not sufficiently acquainted 
with the import of the word justice : it is common- 
ly believed to consist only in a performance of those 
duties to which the laws of society can oblige us. 
This, I allow, is sometimes the import of the word, 
and in this sense justice is distinguished from equi- 
ty ; but there is a justice still more extensive, and 
which can be shown to embrace all the virtues 
united. 

Justice may be defined to be that virtue which im- 
pels us to give to every person what is his due. In 
this extended sense of the word, it comprehends the 
practice of every virtue which reason prescribes or 
society should expect. Our duty to our Maker, to 
each other, and to ourselves is fully answered if 
we give them what we owe them. Thus justice, 
properly speaking, is the only virtue, and all the rest 
have their origin in it. 

The qualities of candour, fortitude, charity, and 
generosity, for instance, are not, in their own na- 
ture, virtues ; and, if ever they deserve the title, it 
is owing only to justice, which impels and directs 
them. Without such a moderator, candour might 
become indiscretion, fortitude obstinacy, charity im^ 
prudence, and generosity mistaken profusion. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 237 

A disinterested action, if it be not conducted by 
justice, is at best indifferent in its nature, and not 
unfrequently even turns to vice. The expenses of 
society, of presents, of entertainments, and the oth- 
er helps to cheerfulness, are actions merely indiffer- 
ent when not repugnant to a better method of dis- 
posing of our superfluities ; but they become vicious 
when they obstruct or exhaust our abilities from a 
more virtuous disposition of our circumstances. 

True generosity is a duty as indispensably neces- 
sary as those imposed upon us by law. It is a rule 
imposed upon us by reason, which should be the 
sovereign law of a rational being. But this gener- 
osity does not consist in obeying every impulse of 
humanity, in following blind passion for our guide, 
and impairing our circumstances by present bene- 
factions, so as to render us incapable of future ones. 

Misers are generally characterized as men with- 
out honour or without humanity ; who live only to 
accumulate, and to this passion sacrifice every other 
happiness. They have been described as madmen, 
who, in the midst of abundance, banish every pleas- 
ure, and make from imaginary wants real necessi- 
ties. But few, very few, correspond to this exag- 
gerated picture ; and perhaps there is not one in 
whom all these circumstances are found united. 
Instead of this, we find the sober and the industrious 
branded by the vain and the idle with this odious ap- 
pellation ; men who, by frugality and labour, raise 
themselves above their equals, and contribute their 
share of industry to the common stock. 

Whatever the vain or the ignorant may say, well 
were it for society had we more of this character 
among us. In general, these close men are found, 
at last, the true benefactors of society. With an 
avaricious man we seldom lose in our dealings, but 
too frequently in our commerce with prodigality. 

A French priest, whose name was Godinot, went 
for a long time by the name of the Griper. He re- 



'238 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

fused to relieve the most apparent wretchedness, 
and, by a skilful management of his vineyard, had 
the good fortune to acquire immense sums of mon- 
ey. The inhabitants of Rheims, who were his fel- 
low-citizens, detested him ; and the populace, who 
seldom love a miser, wherever he went, received 
him with contempt. He still, however, continued 
his former simplicity of life, his amazing and unre- 
mitted frugality. This good man had long perceived 
the wants of the poor in the city, particularly in hav- 
ing no water but what they were obliged to buy at 
an advanced price ; wherefore, that whole fortune 
which he had been amassing he laid out in an aque- 
duct, by which he did the poor more useful and last- 
ing service than if he had distributed his whole in- 
come in charity every day at his door. 

Among men long conversant with books, we too 
frequently find those misplaced virtues of which I 
have been now complaining. We find the studious 
animated with a strong passion for the great virtues, 
as they are mistakenly called, and utterly forgetful 
of the ordinary ones. 

The declamations of philosophy are generally 
rather exhausted on these supererogatory duties 
than on such as are indispensably necessary. A 
man, therefore, who has taken his ideas of mankind 
from study alone, generally comes into the world 
with a heart melting at every fictitious distress. 
Thus he is induced, by misplaced liberality, to put 
iiimself into the indigent circumstances of the per- 
son he relieves. 

I shall conclude this paper with the advice of one 
of the ancients to a young man whom he saw giv- 
ing away all his subsistence to pretended distress. 
" It is possible that the person you relieve may be 
an honest man, and I know that you who relieve 
him are such. You see, then, by your generosity 
you only rob a man who is certainly deserving, to 
bestow it on one who may possibly be a rogue ; and, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 239 

while you are unjust in rewarding uncertain merit, 
you are doubly guilty by stripping yourself." 



THE STORY OF ALCANDER AND SEP- 

TIMIUS. 

TRANSLATED FROM A BYZANTINE HISTORIAN. 

Athens, even long after the decline of the Roman 
empire, still continued the seat of learning, polite- 
ness, and wisdom. The emperors and generals who, 
in those periods of approaching ignorance, still felt a 
passion for science, from time to time added to its 
buildings or increased its professorships. Theodo- 
ric, the Ostrogoth, was of the number : he repaired 
those schools which barbarity was suffering to de- 
cay, and continued those pensions to men of learn- 
ing which avaricious governors had monopolized to 
themselves. 

In this city and about this period, Alcander and 
Septimius were fellow-students together ; the one 
the most subtle reasoner of all the Lyceum, the 
other the most eloquent speaker in the Academic 
Grove. Mutual admiration soon begot an acquaint- 
ance, and a similitude of disposition made them per- 
fect friends. Their fortunes were nearly equal, their 
studies the same, and they were natives of the two 
most celebrated cities in the world ; for Alcander 
was of Athens, Septimius came from Rome. 

In this mutual harmony they lived for some time 
together, when Alcander, after passing the first part 
of his youth in the indolence of philosophy, thought, 
at length, of entering into the busy world ; and, as a 
step previous to this, placed his affections on Hy- 
patia, a lady of exquisite beauty. Hypatia show- 
ed no dislike to his addresses. The day of their in- 
tended nuptials was fixed, the previous ceremonies 
were performed, and nothing now remained but bpr 



240 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

being conducted in triumph to the apartment of her 
intended bridegroom. 

An exultation in his own happiness, or his being 
unable to enjoy any satisfaction without making his 
friend Septimius a partner, prevailed upon him to 
introduce his mistress to his fellow-student, which 
he did with all the gayety of a. man who found him- 
self equally happy in friendship and love. But this 
was an interview fatal to the peace of both. Sep- 
timius no sooner saw her than he was smit with an 
involuntary passion. He used every effort, but in 
vain, to suppress desires at once imprudent and un- 
just. He retired to his apartment in inexpressible 
agony; and the emotions of his mind in a short 
time became so strong that they brought on a fever, 
which the physicians judged incurable. 

During this illness Alcander watched him with all 
the anxiety of fondness, and brought his mistress to 
join in those amiable offices of friendship. The sa-- 
gacity of the physicians, by this means, soon dis-- 
covered the cause of their patient's disorder ; and 
Alcander, being apprized of their discovery, at length 
extorted a confession from the reluctant, dying lover. 

It would but delay the narrative to describe the 
conflict between love and friendship in the breast 
of Alcander on this occasion ; it is enough to say, 
that the Athenians were at this time arrived to such 
refinement in morals, that every virtue was carried 
to excess. In short, forgetful of his own felicity, he 
gave up his intended bride, in all her charms, to the 
young Roman. They were married privately by 
his connivance; and this unlooked-for change of 
fortune wrought as unexpected a change in the con- 
stitution of the now happy Septimius. In a few 
days he was perfectly recovered, and set out with 
his fair partner for Rome. Here, by an exertion of 
those talents of which he was so eminently possess- 
ed, he in a few years arrived at the highest dignities 
of the state and was constituted the city judge or 
praetor. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 241 

Meanwhile, Alcander not only felt the pain of be- 
ing separated from his friend and mistress, but a 
prosecution was also commenced against him by 
the relations of Hypatia for his having basely given 
her up, as was suggested, for money. Neither his 
innocence of the crime laid to his charge, nor his 
eloquence in his own defence, was able to withstand 
the influence of a powerful party. He was cast, 
and condemned to pay an enormous fine. Unable 
to raise so large a sum at the time appointed, his 
possessions were confiscated, himself stripped of 
the habit of freedom, exposed in the market-place, 
and sold as a slave to the highest bidder. 

A merchant of Thrace becoming his purchaser, 
Alcander, with some other companions of distress, 
was carried into the regions of desolation and ste- 
rility. His stated employment was to follow the 
herds of an imperious master; and his skill in hunt- 
ing was all that was allowed him to supply a preca- 
rious subsistence. Condemned to a hopeless servi- 
tude, every morning waked him to a renewal of 
famine or toil, and every change of season served 
but to aggravate his unsheltered distress. Nothing 
but death or flight was left him, and almost certain 
death was the consequence of his attempting to fly. 
After some years of bondage, however, an opportu- 
nity of escaping offered : he embraced it with ar- 
dour, and, travelling by night, and lodging in cav- 
erns by day, to shorten a long story, he at last ar- 
rived in Rome. The day of Alcander's arrival 
Septimius sat in the forum administering justice ; 
and hither our wanderer came, expecting to be in- 
stantly known and publicly acknowledged. Here 
he stood the whole day among the crowd, watching 
the eyes of the judge, and expecting to be taken 
notice of; but, so much was he altered by a long 
succession of hardships, that he passed entirely 
without notice ; and in the evening, when he was 
going ud to the prastor's chair, he was brutally re- 

Vol. II.— X 



242 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

pulsed . by the attending lictors. The attention of 
the poor is generally driven from one ungrateful ob- 
ject to another. Night coming on, he now found 
himself under a necessity of seeking a place to lie 
in, and yet knew not where to apply. All emacia- 
ted and in rags as he was, none of the citizens 
would harbour so much wretchedness, and sleeping 
in the streets might be attended with interruption or 
danger : in short, he was obliged to take up his lodg- 
ing in one of the tombs without the city, the usual 
retreat of guilt, poverty, or despair. 

In this mansion of horror, laying his head upon 
an inverted urn, he forgot his miseries for a while in 
sleep ; and virtue found on this flinty couch more 
ease than down can supply to the guilty. 

It was midnight when two robbers came to make 
this cave their retreat ; but, happening to disagree 
about the division of their plunder, one of them stab- 
bed the other to the heart, and left him weltering in 
blood at the entrance. In these circumstances he 
was found next morning, and this naturally induced 
a farther inquiry. The alarm was spread, the cave 
was examined, Alcander was found sleeping, and 
immediately apprehended and accused of robbery 
and murder. The circumstances against him were 
strong, and the wretchedness of his appearance con- 
firmed suspicion. Misfortune and he were now so 
long acquainted, that he at last became regardless 
of life. He detested a world where he had found 
only ingratitude, falsehood, and cruelty, and was de- 
termined to make no defence. Thus lowering with 
resolution, he was dragged, bound with cords, before 
the tribunal of Septimius. The proofs were positive 
against him, and he offered nothing in his own vin- 
dication; the judge, therefore, was proceeding to 
doom him to a most cruel and ignominious death, 
when, as if illuminated by a ray from heaven, he dis- 
covered, through all his misery, the features, though 
dim with sorrow, of his long-lost, loved Alcander. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 243 

It is impossible to describe his joy and his pain on 
this strange occasion ; happy in once seeing the per- 
son he most loved on earth, distressed at finding him 
in such circumstances. Thus agitated by contending 
passions, he flew from his tribunal, and, falling on the 
neck of his dear benefactor, burst into an agony of 
distress. The attention of the multitude was soon, 
however, divided by another object. The robber 
who had been really guilty was apprehended selling 
his plunder, and, struck with a panic, confessed his 
crime. He was brought bound to the same tribunal, 
and acquitted every other person of any participation 
in his guilt. Need the sequel be related 1 Alcander 
was acquitted, shared the friendship and honours of 
his friend Septimius, lived afterward in happiness 
and ease, and left it to be engraved on his tomb, 
"That no circumstances are so desperate which 
Providence may not relieve." 



ON FRIENDSHIP. 

There are few subjects which have been more 
written upon and less understood than that of friend- 
ship. To follow the dictates of some, this virtue, 
instead of being the assuager of pain, becomes the 
source of every inconvenience. Such speculatists, 
by expecting too much from friendship, dissolve the 
connexion, and by drawing the bands too closely, at 
length break them. Almost all our romance and 
novel writers are of this kind ; they persuade us to 
friendships which we find it impossible to sustain to 
the last ; so that this sweetener of life, under proper 
regulations, is, by their means, rendered inaccessible 
or uneasy. It is certain, the best method to culti- 
vate this virtue is by letting it, in some measure, 
make itself; a similitude of minds or studies, and 
evea, sometimes, a diversity of pursuits, will produce 



244 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

all the pleasures that arise from it. The current of 
tenderness widens as it proceeds ; and two men im- 
perceptibly find their hearts affected with good-na- 
ture for each other, when they were at first only in 
pursuit of mirth or relaxation. 

Friendship is like a debt of honour ; the moment 
it is talked of, it loses its real name, and assumes 
the more ungrateful form of obligation. From hence 
we find, that those who regularly undertake to cul- 
tivate friendship find ingratitude generally repays 
their endeavours. That circle of beings which de- 
pendance gathers round us is almost ever unfriend- 
ly ; they secretly wish the terms of their connex- 
ions more nearly equal ; and, where they even have 
the most virtue, are prepared to reserve all their af- 
fections for their patron only in the hour of his de- 
cline. Increasing the obligations which are laid 
upon such minds only increases their burden ; they 
feel themselves unable to repay the immensity of 
their debt, and their bankrupt hearts are taught a la- 
tent resentment at the hand that is stretched out with 
offers of service and relief. 

Plautinus was a man that thought that every good 
was to be brought from riches ; and as he was pos- 
sessed of great wealth, and had a mind naturally 
formed for virtue, he resolved to gather a circle of 
the best men round him. Among the number of his 
dependants was Musidorus, with a mind just as fond 
of virtue, yet not less proud than his patron's. His 
circumstances, however, were such as forced him to 
stoop to the good offices of his superior, and he saw 
himself daily, among a number of others, loaded with 
benefits and protestations of friendship. These, in 
the usual course of the world, he thought it prudent 
to accept ; but, while he gave his esteem, he could 
not give his heart. A want of affection breaks out 
in the most trifling instances, and Plautinus had skill 
enough to observe the minutest actions of the man 
he wished to make his friend. In these he even 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 245 

found his aim disappointed; Musidorus claimed an 
exchange of hearts, which Plautinus, solicited by a 
variety of claims, could never think of bestowing. 

It may be easily supposed that the reserve of our 
poor proud man was soon construed into ingratitude ; 
and such, indeed, in the common acceptation of the 
world, it was. Wherever Musidorus appeared, he 
was remarked as the ungrateful man ; he had accept- 
ed favours, it was said, and still had the insolence 
to pretend to independence. The event, however, 
justified his conduct. Plautinus, by misplaced lib- 
erality, at length became poor, and it was then that 
Musidorus first thought of making a friend of him. 
He flew to the man of falling fortune with an offer 
of all he had ; wrought under his direction with 
assiduity ; and, by uniting their talents, both were at 
length placed in that state of life from which one of 
them had formerly fallen. 

To this story, taken from modern life, I shall add 
one more, taken from a Greek writer of antiquity. 
Two Jewish soldiers, in the time of Vespasian, had 
made many campaigns together, and a participation 
of danger at length bred a union of hearts. They 
were remarked throughout the whole army as the 
two friendly brothers : they felt and fought for each 
other. Their friendship might have continued with- 
out interruption till death, had not the good fortune 
of the one alarmed the pride of the other, which was 
in his promotion to be a centurion, under the famous 
John, who headed a particular part of the Jewish 
malecontents. 

From this moment their former love was convert- 
ed into the most inveterate enmity. They attached 
themselves to opposite factions, and sought each 
other's lives in the conflict of adverse party. In 
this manner they continued for more than two years 
vowing mutual revenge, and animated with an un- 
conquerable spirit of aversion. At length, however, 
that party of the Jews to which the mean soldier 

X2 



246 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

belonged, joining with the Romans, became victori- 
ous, and drove John, with all his adherents, into the 
temple. History has given us more than one picture 
of the dreadful conflagration of that superb edifice. 
The Roman soldiers were gathered round it ! the 
whole temple was in flames, and thousands were 
seen amid them within its sacred circuit. It was in 
this situation of things that the now successful sol- 
dier saw his former friend upon the battlements of 
the highest tower, looking round with horror, and 
just ready to be consumed with the flames. All his 
former tenderness now returned; he saw the man 
of his bosom just going to perish ; and, unable to 
withstand the impulse, he ran, spreading his arms, 
and cried out to his friend to leap down from the 
top and find safety with him. The centurion from 
above heard and obeyed ; and, casting himself from 
the top of the tower into his fellow-soldier's arms, 
both fell a sacrifice on the spot ; one being crushed 
to death by the weight of his companion, and the 
other dashed to pieces by the greatness of his fall. 



ASEM, THE MAN-HATER. 

Where Tauris lifts its head above the storm, and 
presents nothing to the sight of the distant traveller 
but a prospect of nodding rocks, falling torrents, and 
all the variety of tremendous nature — on the bleak 
bosom of this frightful mountain, secluded from so- 
ciety, and detesting the ways of men, lived Asem, 
the man-hater. 

Asem had spent his youth with men ; had shared 
in their amusements ; and had been taught to love 
his fellow-creatures with the most ardent affection ; 
but, from the tenderness of his disposition, he ex- 
hausted all his fortune in relieving the wants of the 
distressed. The petitioner never sued in vain ; the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 247 

weary traveller never passed his door ; he only de- 
sisted from doing good when he had no longer the 
power of relieving. 

For a fortune thus spent in benevolence, he ex- 
pected a grateful return from those he had formerly 
relieved, and made his application with confidence 
of redress : the ungrateful world soon grew weary 
of his importunity, for pity is but a short-lived pas- 
sion. He soon, therefore, began to view mankind 
in a very different light from that in which he had 
before beheld them : he perceived a thousand vices 
he had never before suspected to exist ; wherever 
he turned, ingratitude, dissimulation, and treachery 
contributed to increase his detestation of them. 
Resolved, therefore, to continue no longer in a world 
which he hated, and which repaid his detestation 
with contempt, he retired to this region of sterility 
in order to brood over his resentment in solitude, 
and converse with the only honest heart he knew, 
namely, with his own. 

A cave was his only shelter from the inclemency 
of the weather ; fruits gathered with difficulty from 
the mountain's side his only food; and his drink 
was fetched with danger and toil from the headlong 
torrent. In this manner he lived, sequestered from 
society, passing the hours in meditation, and some- 
times exulting that he was able to live independently 
of his fellow-creatures. 

At the foot of the mountain an extensive lake dis- 
played its glassy bosom, reflecting on its broad 
surface the impending horrors of the mountain. 
To this capacious mirror he would sometimes de- 
scend, and, reclining on its steep banks, cast an ea- 
ger look on the smooth expanse that lay before him. 
" How beautiful," he often cried, "is nature! how 
lovely, even in the wildest scenes ! How finely con- 
trasted is the level plain that lies beneath me, with 
yon awful pile that hides its tremendous heads in 
clouds ! But the beauty of these scenes is no way 



248 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

comparable with their utility ; from hence a hundred 
rivers are supplied, which distribute health and ver^ 
dure to the various countries through which they 
flow. Every part of the universe is beautiful, just, 
and wise ; but man, vile man, is a solecism in na^ 
ture ; the only monster in the creation. Tempests 
and whirlwinds have their use ; but vicious, ungrate^ 
ful man is a blot in the fair page of universal beauty. 
Why was I born of that detested species, whose 
vices are almost a reproach to the wisdom of the 
Divine Creator ! Were men entirely free from vice, 
all would be uniformity, harmony, and order. A 
world of moral rectitude should be the result of a 
perfectly moral agent. Why, why then, oh Alia ! 
must I be thus confined in darkness, doubt, and de- 
spair!" 

Just as he uttered the word despair he was going 
to plunge into the lake beneath him, at once to sat- 
isfy his doubts and put a period to his anxiety, 
when he perceived a most majestic being walking 
on the surface of the water, and approaching the 
bank on which he stood. So unexpected an object 
at once checked his purpose ; he stopped, contem- 
plated, and fancied he saw something awful and di- 
vine in his aspect. 

" Son of Adam !" cried the genius, " stop thy rash 
purpose : the father of the faithful has seen thy jus- 
tice, thy integrity, thy miseries, and has sent me to 
afford and administer relief. Give me thine hand, 
and follow, without trembling, wherever I shall lead ; 
in me behold the Genius of Conviction, kept by the 
great Prophet to turn from their errors those who 
go astray, not from curiosity, but a rectitude of in- 
tention. Follow me, and be wise/' 

Asem immediately descended upon the lake, and 
his guide conducted him along the surface of the 
water, till, coming near the centre of the lake, they 
both began to sink ; the waters closed over their 
heads; they descended several hundred fathoms, till 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 249 

Asem, just ready to give up his life as inevitably 
lost, found himself, with his celestial guide, in anoth- 
er world at the bottom of the waters, where human 
foot had never trod before. His astonishment was 
beyond description when he saw a sun like that he 
had left, a serene sky over his head, and blooming 
verdure under his feet. 

" I plainly perceive your amazement," said the 
genius ; " but suspend it for a while. This world 
was formed by Alia, at the request and under the 
inspection of our great Prophet, who once entertain- 
ed the same doubts which filled your mind when I 
found you, and from the consequence of which you 
were so lately rescued. The rational inhabitants of 
this world are formed agreeably to your own ideas ; 
they are absolutely without vice. In other respects 
it resembles your earth, but differs from it in being 
wholly inhabited by men who never do wrong. If 
you find this world more agreeable than that you so 
lately left, you have free permission to spend the re- 
mainder of your days in it ; but permit me for some 
time to attend you, that I may silence your doubts, 
and make you better acquainted with your new hab- 
itation." 

" A world without vice ! Rational beings without 
immorality !" cried Asem, in a rapture ; " I thank 
thee, oh Alia ! who hast at length heard my peti- 
tions : this, this indeed will produce happiness, ec- 
stasy, and ease. Oh for an immortality to spend it 
among men who are incapable of ingratitude, injus- 
tice, fraud, violence, and a thousand other crimes 
that render society miserable." 

" Cease thine acclamations," replied the genius. 
" Look around thee ; reflect on eveiy object and ac- 
tion before us, and communicate to me the result of 
thine observations. Lead wherever you think prop- 
er, I shall be your attendant and instructer." Asem 
and his companion travelled on in silence for some 
time, the former being entirely lost in astonishment ; 



250 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

but, at last, recovering his former serenity, he could 
not help observing that the face of the country bore 
a near resemblance to that he had left, except that 
this subterranean world still seemed to retain its 
primeval wildness. 

" Here," cried Asem, " I perceive animals of prey, 
and others that seem only designed for their sub- 
sistence ; it is the very same in the world over our 
heads. But, had I been permitted to instruct our 
Prophet, I would have removed this defect, and 
formed no voracious or destructive animals, which 
only prey on the other parts of the creation." 
" Your tenderness for inferior animals is, I find, re^ 
markable," said the genius, smiling. " But, with re- 
gard to meaner creatures, this world exactly resem- 
bles the other ; and, indeed, for obvious reasons : for 
the earth can support a more considerable number 
of animals by their thus becoming food for each 
other, than if they had lived entirely on her vegeta- 
ble productions. So that animals of different na- 
tures, thus formed, instead of lessening their multi- 
tude, subsist in the greatest number possible. But 
let us hasten on to the inhabited country before us, 
and see what that offers for instruction." 

They soon gained the utmost verge of the forest, 
and entered the country inhabited by men without 
vice ; and Asem anticipated in idea the rational de- 
light he hoped to experience in such an innocent so- 
ciety. But they had scarce left the confines of the 
wood, when they beheld one of the inhabitants flying 
with hasty steps, and terror in his countenance, 
from an army of squirrels that closely pursued him. 
" Heavens !" cried Asem, " why does he fly ? What 
can he fear from animals so contemptible ?" He had 
scarce spoken when he perceived two dogs pursu- 
ing another of the human species, who, with equal 
terror and haste, attempted to avoid them. " This," 
cried Asem to his guide, " is truly surprising ; nor 
can I conceive the reason for so strange an action,'' 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 251 

** Every species of animals," replied the genius, 
** has of late grown very powerful in this country ; 
for the inhabitants, at first, thinking it unjust to use 
either fraud or force in destroying them, they have 
insensibly increased, and now frequently ravage 
their harmless frontiers." "But they should have 
been destroyed," cried Asem ; " you see the conse- 
quence of such neglect." " Where is, then, that ten- 
derness you so lately expressed for subordinate ani- 
mals ?" replied the genius, smiling ; " you seem to 
have forgotten that branch of justice." " I must ac- 
knowledge my mistake," returned Asem ; " I am now 
convinced that we must be guilty of tyranny and in- 
justice to the brute creation if we would enjoy the 
world ourselves. But let us no longer observe the 
duty of man to these irrational creatures, but survey 
their connexions with one another." 

As they walked farther up the country, the more 
he was surprised to see no vestiges of handsome 
houses, no cities, nor any mark of elegant design. 
His conductor, perceiving his surprise, observed that 
the inhabitants of this new world were perfectly con- 
tent with their ancient simplicity : each had a house, 
which, though homely, was sufficient to lodge his 
little family : they were too good to build houses, 
which could only increase their own pride and the 
envy of the spectator ; what they built was for con- 
venience, and not for show. " At least, then," said 
Asem, " they have neither architects, painters, nor 
statuaries in their society ; but these are idle arts, 
and may be spared. However, before I spend much 
more time here, you should have my thanks for in- 
troducing me into the society of some of their wisest 
men : there is scarce any pleasure to me equal to a 
refined conversation ; there is nothing of which I 
am so enamoured as wisdom." " Wisdom," replied 
his insfructer, "how ridiculous! We have no wis- 
dom here, for we have no occasion for it. True wis- 
dom is only a knowledge of our own duty, and the 



252 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

duty of others to us ; but of what use is such wis- 
dom here ? each intuitively performs what is right in 
himself, and expects the same from others. If by 
wisdom you should mean vain curiosity and empty 
speculation, as such pleasures have their origin in 
vanity, luxury, or avarice, we are too good to pur- 
sue them." "All this may be right," says Asem, 
" but methinks I observe a solitary disposition pre- 
vailing among the people ; each family keeps sep- 
arately within their own precincts, without society, 
or without intercourse." " That, indeed, is true," 
replied the other ; " here is no established society ; 
nor should there be any : all societies are made ei- 
ther through fear or friendship : the people we are 
among are too good to fear each other, and there 
are no motives to private friendship where all are 
equally meritorious." " Well, then," said the skep- 
tic, " as I am to spend my time here, if I am to have 
neither the fine arts, nor wisdom, nor friendship in 
such a world, I should be glad, at least, of an easy 
companion, who may tell me his thoughts, and to 
whom I may communicate mine." " And to what 
purpose should either do this V says the genius ; 
" flattery or curiosity are vicious motives, and never 
allowed of here ; and wisdom is out of the ques- 
tion." 

" Still, however," said Asem, " the inhabitants 
must be happy : each is contented with his o.wn 
possessions, nor avariciously endeavours to heap up 
more than is necessary for his own subsistence ; 
each has, therefore, leisure for pitying those that 
stand in need of his compassion." He had scarce 
spoken when his ears were assaulted with the lam- 
entations of a wretch who sat by the wayside, and, 
in the most deplorable distress, seemed gently to 
murmur at his own misery. Asem immediately 
ran to his relief, and found him in the last stage of 
a consumption. " Strange," cried the son of Adam, 
" that men who are free from vice should thus suffer 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 253 

bo much misery without relief!" "Be not sur- 
prised," said the wretch, who was dyiiig ; " would 
it not be the utmost injustice for beings who have 
only just sufficient to support themselves, and are 
content with a bare subsistence, to take it from their 
own mouths to put it into mine ? They never are 
possessed of a single meal more than is necessary ; 
and what is barely necessary cannot be dispensed 
with." " They should have been supplied with 
more than is necessary," cried Asem ; " and yet I 
contradict my own opinion but a moment before : 
all is doubt, perplexity, and confusion. Even the 
want of ingratitude is no virtue here, since they 
never received a favour. They have, however, an- 
other excellence yet behind ; the love of their coun- 
try is still, I hope, one of their darling virtues." 
" Peace, Asem," replied the guardian, with a coun- 
tenance not less severe than beautiful, " nor forfeit 
all thy pretensions to wisdom : the same selfish 
motives by which we prefer our own interest to that 
of others, induce us to regard our country prefera- 
bly to that of another. Nothing less than universal 
benevolence is free from vice, and that, you see, is 
practised here." " Strange !" cries the disappointed 
pilgrim, in an agony of distress ; " what sort of a 
world am I now introduced to 1 There is scarce a 
single virtue but that of temperance which they 
practise, and in that they are no way superior to 
the brute creation. There is scarce an amusement 
which they enjoy : fortitude, liberality, friendship, 
wisdom, conversation, and love of country, all are 
virtues entirely unknown here ; thus it seems that 
to be unacquainted with vice is not to know virtue. 
Take me, oh my genius, back to that very world 
which I have despised : a world which has Alia for 
its contriver is much more wisely formed than that 
which has been projected by Mohammed. Ingrati- 
tude, contempt, and hatred I can now suffer, for 
perhaps I have deserved them. When I arraigned 
Vol. II.— Y 



254 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

the wisdom of Providence, I only showed my own 
ignorance ; henceforth let me keep from vice my- 
self, and pity it in others." 

He had scarce ended, when the genius, assuming 
an air of terrible complacency, called all his thun- 
ders around him, and vanished in a whirlwind. 
Asem, astonished at the terror of the scene, looked 
for his imaginary world ; when, casting his eyes 
around, he perceived himself in the very situation 
and in the very place where he first began to repine 
and despair ; his right foot had been just advanced 
to take the final plunge, nor had it been yet with- 
drawn ; so instantly did Providence strike the series 
of truths just imprinted on his soul. He now de- 
parted from the water-side in tranquillity, and, leav- 
ing his horrid mansion, travelled to Segestan, his 
native city, where he diligently applied himself to 
commerce, and put in practice that wisdom he had 
learned in solitude. The frugality of a few years 
soon produced opulence ; the number of his domes- 
tics increased ; his friends came to him from every 
part of the city ; nor did he receive them with dis- 
dain ; and a youth of misery was concluded with an 
old age of elegance, affluence, and ease. 



SABINUS AND OLINDA. 

In a fair, rich, and flourishing country, whose cliffs 
are washed by the German Ocean, lived Sabinus, a 
youth formed by nature to make a conquest wher- 
ever he thought proper ; but the constancy of his 
disposition fixed him only with Olinda. He was in- 
deed superior to her in fortune, but that defect on 
her side was so amply supplied by her merit, that 
none was thought more worthy of his regards than 
she. He loved her, he was beloved by her ; and, in 
a short time, by joining hands publicly", they avowed 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 255 

the union of their hearts. But, alas ! none, however 
fortunate, however happy, are exempt from the 
shafts of envy and the malignant effects of ungov- 
erned appetite. How unsafe, how detestable are 
they who have this fury for their guide ! How cer- 
tainly will it lead them from themselves, and plunge 
them in errors they would have shuddered at, even 
in apprehension ! Ariana, a lady of many amiable 
qualities, very nearly allied to Sabinus, and highly 
esteemed by him, imagined herself slighted and in- 
juriously treated since his marriage with Olinda. 
By incautiously suffering this jealousy to corrode in 
her breast, she began to give a loose to passion; 
she forgot those many virtues for which she had 
been so long and so justly applauded Causeless 
suspicion and mistaken resentment betrayed her 
into all the gloom of discontent ; she sighed without 
ceasing ; the happiness of others gave her intolera- 
ble pain ; she thought of nothing but revenge. How 
unlike what she was, the cheerful, the prudent, the 
compassionate Ariana. 

She continually laboured to disturb a union so 
firmly, so affectionately founded, and planned every 
scheme which she thought most likely to disturb it. 

Fortune seemed willing to promote her unjust in- 
tentions : the circumstances of Sabinus had been 
long embarrassed by a tedious lawsuit, and the court 
determining the cause unexpectedly in favour of his 
opponent, it sunk his fortune to the lowest pitch of 
penury from the highest affluence. From the near- 
ness of relationship, Sabinus expected from Ariana 
those assistances his present situation required ; but 
she was insensible to all his entreaties and the jus- 
tice of every remonstrance, unless he first separated 
from Olinda, whom she regarded with detestation. 
Upon a compliance with her desires in this respect, 
she promised that her fortune, her interest, and her 
all should be at his command. Sabinus was shock- 
ed at the proposal : he loved his wife with inex- 



256 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

pressible tenderness, and refused those offers with 
indignation which were to be purchased at so high 
a price. Ariana was no less displeased to find her 
offers rejected, and gave a loose to all that warmth 
which she had long endeavoured to suppress. Re- 
proach generally produces recrimination ; the quar- 
rel rose to such a height that Sabinus was marked 
for destruction ; and the very next day, upon the 
strength of an old family debt, he was sent to jail, 
with none but Olinda to comfort him in his miseries. 
In this mansion of distress, they lived together with 
resignation and even with comfort. She provided 
the frugal meal, and he read to her while employed 
in the little offices of domestic concern. Their fel- 
low-prisoners admired their contentment, and, when- 
ever they had a desire of relaxing into mirth, and 
enjoying those little comforts that a prison affords, 
Sabinus and Olinda were sure to be of the party. 
Instead of reproaching each other for their mutual 
wretchedness, they both lightened it by bearing each 
a share of the load imposed by Providence. When- 
ever Sabinus showed the least concern on his dear 
partner's account, she conjured him by the love he 
bore her, by those tender ties which now united 
them for ever, not to discompose himself; that, so 
long as his affection lasted, she defied all the ills of 
fortune, and every loss of fame or friendship ; that 
nothing could make her miserable but his seeming 
to want happiness ; nothing pleased but his sympa- 
thizing with her pleasure. A continuance in prison 
soon robbed them of the little they had left, and 
famine began to make its horrid appearance ; yet 
still was neither found to murmur : they both looked 
upon their little boy, who, insensible of their or his 
own distress, was playing about the room, with in- 
expressible yet silent anguish, when a messenger 
came to inform them that Ariana was dead, and that 
her will in favour of a very distant relation, who 
was now in another country, might easily be pro- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 257 

cured and burned, in which case all her large for- 
tune would revert to him, as being the next heir at 
law. 

A proposal of so base a nature filled our unhappy 
couple with horror : they ordered the messenger out 
of the room, and, falling upon each other's neck, in- 
dulged an agony of sorrow, for now even all hopes 
of relief were banished. The messenger who made 
the proposal, however, was only a spy sent by Ari- 
ana to sound the dispositions of a man she at once 
loved and persecuted. This lady, though warped 
by strong passions, was naturally kind, judicious, 
and friendly. She found that all her attempts to 
shake the constancy of the integrity of Sabinus were 
ineffectual ; she had, therefore, begun to reflect and 
to wonder how she could, so long and so unprovoked, 
injure such uncommon fortitude and affection. 

She had from the next room herself heard the re- 
ception given to the messenger, and could not avoid 
feeling all the force of superior virtue : she there- 
fore reassumed her former goodness of heart ; she 
came into the room with tears in her eyes, and ac- 
knowledged the severity of her former treatment. 
She bestowed her first care in providing them all the 
necessary supplies, and acknowledged them as the 
most deserving heirs of her fortune. From this 
moment Sabinus enjoyed an uninterrupted happi- 
ness with Olinda, and both were happy in the friend- 
ship and assistance of Ariana, who, dying soon af- 
ter, left them in possession of a large estate, and in 
her last moments confessed that virtue was the only 
path to true glory ; and that, however innocence 
may for a time be depressed, a steady perseverance 
will in time lead it to a certain victory. 

Y2 






258 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



ON THE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OF MUSIC. 

A school in the polite arts properly signifies that 
succession of artists which has learned the princi- 
ples of the art from some eminent master, either by 
hearing his lessons or studying his works, and, con- 
sequently, who imitate his manner either through 
design or from habit. Musicians seem agreed in 
making only three principal schools in music : name- 
ly, the school of Pergolese in Italy, of Lully in 
France, and of Handel in England ; though some 
are for making Rameau the founder of a new school, 
different from those of the former, as he is the in- 
ventor of beauties peculiarly his own. 

Without all doubt, Pergolese's music deserves the 
first rank : though excelling neither in variety of 
movements, number of parts, nor unexpected nights, 
yet he is universally allowed to be the musical Ra- 
phael of Italy. This great master's principal art 
consisted in knowing how to excite our passions by 
sounds, which seem frequently opposite to the pas- 
sion they would express : by slow, solemn sounds 
he is sometimes known to throw us into all the rage 
of battle ; and even by faster movements he ex- 
cites melancholy in every heart that sounds are ca- 
pable of affecting. This is a talent which seems 
born with the artist. We are unable to tell why 
such sounds affect us ; they seem no way imitative 
of the passion they would express, but operate upon 
us by an inexpressible sympathy, the original of 
which is as inscrutable as the secret springs of life 
itself. To this excellence he adds another, in which 
he is superior to every other artist of the profession, 
the happy transition from one passion to another. 
No dramatic poet better knows how to prepare his 
incidents than he : the audience are pleased in those 
intervals of passion with the delicate, the simple 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 259 

harmony, if I may so express it, in which the parts 
are all thrown into fugues, or often are barely uni- 
son. His melodies, also, where no passion is ex- 
pressed, give equal pleasure from this delicate sim- 
plicity ; and I need only instance that song in the 
Serva Padrona, which begins Lo conosco a quegP 
occelli, as one of the finest instances of excellence 
in the duo. 

The Italian artists, in general, have followed his 
manner, yet seem fond of embellishing the delicate 
simplicity of the original. Their style in music 
seems somewhat to resemble that of Seneca in wri- 
ting, where there are some beautiful starts of thought ; 
but the whole is filled with studied elegance and un- 
affecting affectation. 

Lully, in France, first attempted the improvement 
of their music, which, in general, resembled that of 
our old solemn chants in churches. It is worthy of 
remark, in general, that the music of every country 
is solemn in proportion as the inhabitants are mer- 
ry ; cr, in other words, the merriest, sprightliest na- 
tions are remarked for having the slowest music ; 
and those whose character it is to be melancholy 
are pleased with the most brisk and airy move- 
ments. Thus in France, Poland, Ireland, and Switz- 
erland, the national music is slow, melancholy, and 
solemn ; in Italy, England, Spain, and Germany, it 
is faster, proportionally as the people are grave. 
Lully only changed a bad manner which he found 
for a bad one of his own. His drowsy pieces are 
played still to the most sprightly audiences that can 
be conceived ; and even though Rameau, who is at 
once a musician and a philosopher, has shown, both 
by precept and example, what improvements French 
music may still admit of, yet his countrymen seem 
little convinced by his reasonings ; and the Pontneuf 
taste, as it is called, still prevails in their best per- 
formances. 

The English school was planned by Purcel : he at- 



260 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

tempted to unite the Italian manner that prevailed 
in his time with the ancient Celtic carol and the 
Scottish ballad, which probably had also its origin 
in Italy ; for some of the best Scotch ballads (" The 
Broom of Cowden-knowes," for instance) are still 
ascribed to David Rizzio. But, be that as it will, 
his manner was something peculiar to the English ; 
and he might have continued as head of the English 
school, had not his merits been entirely eclipsed by 
Handel. Handel, though originally a German, yet 
adopted the English manner : he had long laboured 
to please by Italian composition, but without suc- 
cess ; and, though his English Oratorios are account- 
ed inimitable, yet his Italian Operas are fallen into 
oblivion. Pergolese excelled in passionate simpli- 
city : Lully was remarkable for creating a new spe- 
cies of music, where all is elegant, but nothing pas- 
sionate or sublime : Handel's true characteristic is 
simplicity ; he has employed all the variety of sounds 
and parts in all his pieces : the performances of the 
rest may be pleasing, though executed by a few per- 
formers ; his require the full band. The attention 
is awakened, the soul is roused up at his pieces, but 
distinct passion is seldom expressed. In this par- 
ticular he has seldom found success : he has been 
obliged, in order to express passion, to imitate words 
by sound, which, though it gives the pleasure which 
imitation always produces, yet it fails of exciting 
those lasting affections which it is in the pow T er of 
sounds to produce. In a word, no man ever under- 
stood harmony so well as he ; but in melody he has 
been exceeded by several. 

[The following Objections to the preceding Essay having 
been addressed to Dr. Smollett (as Editor of the British 
Magazine, in which it first appeared), that gentleman, with 
equal candour and politeness, communicated it to Dr. Gold- 
smith, who returned his answer to the objector in the notes 
annexed.] 

Pkemit me to object against, some things advanced 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 261 

in the paper on the subject of The Different Schools 
of Music. The author of this article seems too has- 
ty in degrading the harmonious* Purcel from the head 
of the English school, to erect in his room a foreign- 
er (Handel), who has not yet formed any school. f 
The gentleman, when he comes to communicate his 
thoughts upon the different schools of painting, may 
as well place Rubens at the head of the English 
painters because he left some monuments of his art 
in England. J He says that Handel, though originally 

* Had the objector said melodious Purcel, it had testified at 
least a greater acquaintance with music, and Purcel's peculiar 
excellence. Purcel, in melody, is frequently great : his song, 
made in his last sickness, called Rosy Bowers, is a fine instance 
of this ; but in harmony he is far short of the meanest of our 
modern composers, his fullest harmonies being exceedingly sim- 
ple. His Opera of Prince Arthur, the words of which were 
Dryden's, is reckoned his finest piece. But what is that, in point 
of harmony, to what we every day hear from modern masters ? 
In short, with respect to genius, Purcel had a fine one ; he 
greatly improved an art but little known in England before his 
time : for this he deserves our applause ; but the present pre- 
vailing taste in music is very different from what he left it, and 
who was the improver since his time we shall see by-and-by. 

t Handel may be said, as justly as any man, not Pergolese ex- 
cepted, to have founded a new school of music. When he first 
came into England his music was entirely Italian : he composed 
for the Opera ; and, though even then his pieces were liked, they 
did not meet with universal approbation. In those he has too 
servilely imitated the modern vitiated Italian taste, by placing 
what foreigners call the point (Torgue too closely and injudi- 
ciously. But in his Oratorios he is perfectly an original genius. 
In these, by steering between the manners of Italy and Eng- 
land, he has struck out new harmonies, and formed a species of 
music different from all others. He has left some excellent and 
eminent scholars, particularly Worgan and Smith, who compose 
nearly in his manner ; a manner as different from Purcel's as 
from that of modern Italy. Consequently, Handel may be 
placed at the head of the English school. 

X The objector will not have Handel's school to be called an 
English school, because he was a German. Handel, in a great 
measuie, found in England those essential differences which 
characterize his music ; we have already shown that he had 
them not upon his arrival. Had Rubens come over to England 



262 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

a German (as most certainly he was, and continued 
so to his last breath), yet adopted the English man- 
ner.* Yes, to be sure, just as much as Rubens the 
painter did. Your correspondent, in the course of 
his discoveries, tells us, besides, that some of the 
best Scottish ballads, " The Broom of Cowden- 
knowes," for instance, are still ascribed to David 
Rizzio.f This Rizzio must have been a most ori- 
ginal genius, or have possessed extraordinary imita- 
tive powers, to have come, so advanced in life as he 
did, from Italy, and strike so far out of the common 
road of his own country's music. 

but moderately skilled in his art ; had he learned here all his 
excellence in colouring and correctness of designing ; had he 
left several scholars excellent in his manner behind him, I should 
not scruple to call the school erected by him the English school 
of painting. Not the country in which a man is born, but his 

Eeculiar style, either in painting or in music— that constitutes 
im of this or that school. Thus Champagne, who painted in 
the manner of the French school, is always placed among the 
painters of that school, though he was born in Flanders, and 
should consequently, by the objector's rule, be placed among 
the Flemish painters. Knelleris placed in the German school, 
and Ostade in the Dutch, though born in the same city. Pri- 
matis, who may be truly said to have founded the Roman school, 
•was born in Bologna ; though, if his country was to determine 
his school, he should have been placed in the Lombard. There 
might several other instances be produced ; but these, it is 
hoped, will be sufficient to prove that Handel, though a German, 
may be placed at the head of the English school. 

* H?ndel was originally a German, but, by a long continuance 
in England, he might have been looked upon as naturalized to 
that country. I do not pretend to be a fine writer : however, if 
the gentleman dislikes the expression (although he must be 
convinced it is a common one), 1 wish it were mended. 

+ 1 said that they were ascribed to David Rizzio. That they 
are, the objector need only look into Mr. Oswald's Collection of 
Scottish Tunes, and he will there find not only "The Broom 
of Cowden-knowes," but also "The Black Eagle," and sev- 
eral other of the best Scottish tunes, ascribed to him. Though 
this might be a sufficient answer, yet I must be permitted to go 
farther, to tell the objector the opinion of our best modern mu- 
sicians in this particular. It is the opinion of the melodious 
Germiniani, that we have in the dominions of Great Britain no 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 263 

A mere fiddler,* a shallow coxcomb, a giddy, in- 
solent, worthless fellow, to compose such pieces as 
nothing but genuine sensibility of mind, and an ex- 
quisite feeling of those passions which animate only 
the finest souls could dictate ; and in a manner, too, 
so extravagantly distant from that to which he had 
all his life been accustomed ! It is impossible. He 
might, indeed, have had presumption enough to add 
some flourishes to a few favourite airs, like a cob- 
bler of old plays when he takes it upon himself to 
mend Shakspeare. So far he might go ; but farther 
it is impossible for any one to believe that has but 
just ear enough to distinguish between the Italian 
and Scottish music, and is disposed to consider the 
subject with the least degree of attention. S. R. 

March 18, 1860. 

original music except the Trish ; the Scottish and the English 
being originally borrowed from the Italians. And that his opin 
ion in this respect is just (for I would not be swayed merely by 
authorities), it is very reasonable to suppose, rirst, from the con- 
formity between the Scottish and ancient Italian music. They 
who compare the old French vaudevilles, brought from Italy 
by Rinuccini, with those pieces ascribed to David Rizzio, who 
was pretty nearly contemporary with him T will find a strong re- 
semblance, notwithstanding the opposite characters of the two 
nations which have preserved those pieces. When I would 
have them compared, I would have their bases compared, by 
which the similitude may be more exactly seen. Secondly, it 
is reasonable, from the ancient music of the Scotch, which is 
still preserved in the Highlands, and which bears no resem- 
blance at all to the music of the Low Country. The Highland 
tunes are sung to Irish words, and flow entirely in the Irish 
manner. On the other hand, the Lowland music is always 
sung to English words. 

* David Wizzio was neither a mere fiddler, nor a shallow cox- 
comb, nor a worthless fellow, nor a stranger in Scotland. He 
had, indeed, been brought over from Piedmont, to be put at the 
head of a band of music, by King James V., one of the most 
elegant princes of his time, an exquisite judge of music, as 
well as of poetry, architecture, and all the fine arts. Kizzio, at 
the time of his death, had been above twenty years in Scotland : 
he was secretary to the queen, and, at the same time, an agent 
from the pope ; so that he could not be so obscure as he has 
been represented. 



264 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 



SHENSTONE AND HIS GARDENS. 

Of all men who form gay allusions of distant hap- 
piness, perhaps a poet is the most sanguine. Such 
is the ardour of his hopes, that they often are equal 
to actual enjoyment ; and he feels more in expect- 
ance than actual fruition. I have often regarded a 
character of this kind with some degree of envy. 
A man possessed of such warm imagination com- 
mands all nature, and arrogates possessions of which 
the owner has a blunter relish. While life contin- 
ues, the alluring prospect lies before him ; he travels 
in the pursuit with confidence, and resigns it only 
with his last breath. 

It is this happy confidence which gives life its true 
relish, and keeps up our spirits amid every distress 
and disappointment. . How much less would be done 
if a man knew how little he can do ! how wretched 
a creature would he be if he saw the end as well as 
the beginning of his projects ! He would have no- 
thing left but to sit down in torpid despair, and ex- 
change employment for actual calamity. 

I was led into this train of thinking upon lately 
visiting* the beautiful gardens of the late Mr. Shen- 
stone, who was himself a poet, and possessed of that 
warm imagination which made him ever foremost 
in the pursuit of flying happiness. Could he but 
have foreseen the end of all his schemes, for whom 
he was improving, and what changes his designs 
were to undergo, he would have scarcely amused his 
innocent life with what, for several years, employed 
him in a most harmless manner, and abridged his 
scanty fortune. As the progress of this improve- 
ment is a true picture of sublunary vicissitude, I 
could not help calling up my imagination, which, 

* 1773. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 265 

while I walked pensively along, suggested the fol- 
lowing revery. 

As I was turning my back upon a beautiful piece 
of water, enlivened with cascades and rock-work, 
and entering a dark walk, by which ran a prattling 
brook, the genius of the place appeared before me, 
but more resembling the god of Time than him 
more peculiarly appointed to the care of gardens. 
Instead of shears he bore a scythe ; and he appeared 
rather with the implements of husbandry than those 
of a modern gardener. Having remembered this 
place in its pristine beauty, I could not help condo- 
ling with him on its present ruinous situation. I 
spoke to him of the many alterations which had been 
made, and all for the worse ; of the many shades 
which had been taken away, of the bowers that 
were destroyed by neglect, and the hedgerows that 
were spoiled by clipping. The genius, with a sigh, 
received my condolement, and assured me that he 
was equally a martyr to ignorance and taste, to re- 
finement and rusticity. Seeing me desirous of 
knowing farther, he went on : 

" You see, in the place before you, the paternal in- 
heritance of a poet ; and, to a man content with little, 
fully sufficient for his subsistence ; but a strong im- 
agination and a long acquaintance with the rich are 
dangerous foes to contentment. Our poet, instead 
of sitting down to enjoy life, resolved to prepare for 
its future enjoyment ; and set about converting a 
place of profit into a scene of pleasure. This he at 
first supposed could be accomplished at a small ex- 
pense ; and he was willing for a while to stint his 
income, to have an opportunity of displaying his 
taste. The improvement in this manner went for- 
ward ; one beauty attained led him to wish for some 
other ; but he still hoped that every emendation 
would be the last. It was now, therefore, found 
that the improvement exceeded the subsidy ; that the 
place was grown too large and too fine for the in- 

Vol. II.— Z 



266 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

habitant. But that pride which was once exhibited 
could not retire ; the garden was made for the own- 
er, and, though it was become unfit for him, he 
could not willingly resign it to another. Thus the 
first idea of its beauties contributing to the happi- 
ness of his life was found unfaithful ; so that, instead 
of looking within for satisfaction, he began to think 
of, having recourse to the praises of those who came 
to visit his improvement. 

" In consequence of this hope, which now took 
possession of his mind, the gardens were opened to 
the visits of every stranger ; and the country flocked 
round to walk, to criticise, to admire, and to do mis- 
chief. He soon found that the admirers of his taste 
left by no means such strong marks of their ap- 
plause as the envious did of their malignity. All 
the windows of his temples, and the walls of his re- 
treats, were impressed with the characters of pro- 
faneness, ignorance, and obscenity ; his hedges were 
broken, his statues and urns defaced, and his lawns 
worn bare. It was now, therefore, necessary to 
shut up the gardens once more, and to deprive the 
public of that happiness which had before ceased to 
be his own. 

" In this situation the poet continued for a time in 
the character of a jealous lover,*fond of the beauty 
he keeps, but unable to supply the extravagance of 
every demand. The garden, by this time, was Com- 
pletely grown and finished ; the marks of art were 
covered up by the luxuriance of nature ; the wind- 
ing walks were grown dark ; the brook assumed a 
natural silvage ; and the rocks were covered with 
moss. Nothing now remained but to enjoy the beau- 
ties of the place, when the poor poet died, and his 
garden was obliged to be sold for the benefit of those 
who had contributed to its embellishment. 

" The beauties of the place had now for some 
time been celebrated as well in prose as in verse : 
and all men of taste wished for so envied a spot, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 267 

where every turn was marked with the poet's pen- 
cil, and every walk awakened genius and meditation. 
The first purchaser was one Mr. Truepenny, a but- 
ton-maker, who was possessed of three thousand 
pounds, and was willing also to be possessed of taste 
and genius. 

"As the poet's ideas were for the natural wild- 
ness of the landscape, the button-maker's were for 
the more regular productions of art. He conceived, 
perhaps, that as it is a beauty in a button to be of a 
regular pattern, so the same regularity ought to ob- 
tain in a landscape. Be this as it will, he employed 
the shears to some purpose ; he clipped up the 
hedges, cut down the gloomy walks, made vistas 
upon the stables and hogsties, and showed his friends 
that a man of taste should always be doing. 

" The next candidate for taste and genius was a 
captain of a ship, who bought the garden because 
the former possessor could find nothing more to 
mend ; but, unfortunately, he had taste too. His 
great passion lay in building; in making Chinese 
temples, and cagework summer-houses. As the 
place before had an appearance of retirement, and 
inspired meditation, he gave it a more peopled air; 
every turning presented a cottage, or icehouse, or 
a temple ; the improvement was converted into a 
little city, and it only wanted inhabitants to give it 
the air of a village in the East Indies. 

"In this manner, in less than ten years, the im- 
provement has gone through the hands of as many 
proprietors, who were all willing to have taste, and 
to show their taste too. As the place had received 
its best finishing from the hand of the first possessor, 
so every innovator only lent a hand to do mischief. 
Those parts which were obscure have been en- 
lightened ; those walks which led naturally have 
been twisted into serpentine windings. The colour 
of the flowers of the field is not more various than 
the variety of tastes that have been employed here, 



268 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

and all in direct contradiction to the original aim of 
the first improver. Could the original possessor but 
revive, with what a sorrowful heart would he look 
upon his favourite spot again ! He would scarcely 
recollect a Dryad or a wood-nymph of his former 
acquaintance, and might perhaps find himself as 
much a stranger in his own plantation as in the des- 
erts of Siberia." 



POLITICAL FRUGALITY. 

^Frugality has ever been esteemed a virtue, as 
well among pagans as Christians ; there have been 
even heroes who have practised it. However, we 
must acknowledge that it is too modest a virtue, or, 
if you will, too obscure a one to be essential to he- 
roism ; few heroes have been able to attain to such 
a height. Frugality agrees much better with poli- 
tics ; it seems to be the base and support, and, in a 
word,- the inseparable companion of a just adminis- 
tration. 

However this be, there is not, perhaps, in the 
world a people less fond of this virtue than the Eng- 
lish ; and, of consequence, there is not a nation more 
restless, more exposed to the uneasiness of life, or 
less capable of providing for particular happiness. 
We are taught to despise this virtue from our child- 
hood ; our education is improperly directed ; and a 
man who has gone through the politest institutions 
is generally the person who is least acquainted with 
the wholesome precepts of frugality. We every 
day hear the elegance of taste, the magnificence of 
some, and the generosity of others, made the sub- 
ject of our admiration and applause. All this we 
see represented, not as the end and recompense of 
labour and desert, but as the actual result of genius, 
as the mark of a noble and exalted mind. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 269 

In the midst of these praises bestowed on luxury, 
for which elegance and taste are but another name, 
perhaps it may be thought improper to plead the 
cause of frugality. It may be thought low, or vain- 
ly declamatory, to exhort our youth from the follies 
of dress, and of every other superfluity ; to accustom 
themselves, even with mechanic meanness, to the 
simple necessaries of life. Such sort of instructions 
may appear antiquated ; yet, however, they seem 
the foundations of all our virtues, and the most effi- 
cacious method of making mankind useful members 
of society. Unhappily, however, such discourses 
are not fashionable among us, and the fashion seems 
every day growing still more obsolete, since the 
press, and every other method of exhortation, seems 
disposed to talk of the luxuries of life as harmless 
enjoyments. I remember, when a boy, to have re- 
marked, that those who in school wore the finest 
clothes, were pointed at as being conceited and 
proud. At present, our little masters are taught to 
consider dress betimes, and they are regarded, even 
at school, with contempt, who do not appear as gen- 
teel as the rest. Education should teach us to be- 
come useful, sober, disinterested, and laborious mem- 
bers of society ; but does it not at present point out 
a different path 1 ? It teaches us to multiply our 
wants, by which means we become more eager to 
possess, in order to dissipate ; a greater charge to 
ourselves, and more useless aud obnoxious to so- 
ciety. 

If a youth happens to be possessed of more ge- 
nius than fortune, he is early informed that he ought 
to think of his advancement in the world ; that he 
should labour to make himself pleasing to his supe- 
riors ; that he should shun low company, by which 
is meant the company of his equals ; that he should 
rather live a little above than below his fortune ; that 
he should think of becoming great : but he finds 
none to admonish him to become frugal ; to perse- 

Z2 



270 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

vere in one single design ; to avoid every pleasure 
and all flattery, which, however seeming to concil- 
iate the favour of his superiors, never conciliate 
their esteem. There are none to teach him that the 
best way of becoming happy in himself and useful 
to others, is to continue in the state in which Fortune 
at first placed him, without making too hasty strides 
to advancement ; that greatness may be attained, 
but should not be expected ; and that they who 
most impatiently expect advancement are seldom 
possessed of their wishes. He has few, I say, to 
teach him this lesson, or to moderate his youthful 
passions ; yet this experience may say, that a young 
man who, but for six years of the early part of his 
life, could seem divested of all his passions, would 
certainly make, or considerably increase his fortune, 
and might indulge several of his favourite inclina- 
tions in manhood with the utmost security. 

The efficaciousness of these means is sufficiently 
known and acknowledged ; but, as we are apt to con- 
nect a low idea with all our notions of frugality, the 
person who would persuade us to it might be ac- 
cused of preaching up avarice. 

Of all vices, however, against which morality dis- 
suades, there is not one more undetermined than 
this of avarice. Misers are proscribed by some as 
men divested of honour, sentiment, or humanity ; 
but this is only an ideal picture, or the resemblance, 
at least, is found but in a few. In truth, they who 
are generally called misers are some of the very 
best members of society. The sober, the laborious, 
the attentive, the frugal, are thus styled by the gay, 
giddy, thoughtless, and extravagant. The first set 
of men do society all the good, and the latter all the 
evil that is felt. Even the excesses of the first no 
way injure the commonwealth ; those of the latter 
are" the most injurious that can be conceived. 

The ancient Romans, more rational than we in 
this particular, were very far from thus misplacing 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 271 

their admiration or praise ; instead of regarding the 
practice of parsimony as low or vicious, they made 
it synonymous even with probity. They esteemed 
those virtues so inseparable, that the known expres- 
sion of Vir Frugis signified, at one and the same 
time, a sober and managing man, an honest man, 
and a man of substance. 

The Scriptures, in a thousand places, praise econ- 
omy ; and it is everywhere distinguished from av- 
arice. But, in spite of all its sacred dictates, a taste 
for vain pleasures and foolish expense is the ruling 
passion of the present times. Passion, did I call it ? 
rather the madness which at once possesses the 
great and the little, the rich and the poor; even 
some are so intent upon acquiring the superfluities 
of life, that they sacrifice its necessaries in this fool- 
ish pursuit. 

To attempt the entire abolition of luxury, as it 
would be impossible, so it is not my intent. The 
generality of mankind are too weak, too much slaves 
to custom and opinion, to resist the torrent of bad 
example. But if it be impossible to convert the 
multitude, those who have received a more extend- 
ed education, who are enlightened and judicious, 
may find some hints on this subject useful. They 
may see some abuses, the suppression of which by 
no means endanger public liberty ; they may be di- 
rected to the absolution of some unnecessary ex- 
penses, which have no tendency to promote happi- 
ness or virtue, and which might be directed to better 
purposes. Our fireworks, our public feasts and en- 
tertainments, our entries of ambassadors, &c. — what 
mummery all this ! what childish pageants ! what 
millions are sacrificed in paying tribute to custom ! 
what an unnecessary charge at times when we are 
pressed with real want, which cannot be satisfied 
without burdening the poor ! 

Were such suppressed entirely, not a single crea- 
ture in the state would have the least cause to mourn 



272 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

their suppression, and many might be eased of a 
load they now feel lying heavily upon them. If this 
were put in practice, it would agree with the advice 
of a sensible writer of Sweden, who, in the Gazette 
de France, 1753, thus expressed himself on that sub- 
ject. " It were sincerely to be wished," says he, 
"that the custom were established among us, that, 
in all events which cause a public joy, we made our 
exultations conspicuous only by acts useful to soci- 
ety. We should then quickly see many useful mon- 
uments of our reason which would much better per- 
petuate the memory of things worthy of being trans- 
mitted to posterity, and would be much more glori- 
ous to humanity than all those tumultuous prepara- 
tions of feasts, entertainments, and other rejoicings 
used upon such occasions." 

The same proposal was long before confirmed by 
a Chinese emperor, who lived in the last century, 
who, upon an occasion of extraordinary joy, forbade 
his subjects to make the usual illuminations, either 
with a design of sparing their substance, or of turn- 
ing them to some more durable indications of joy, 
more glorious for him, and more advantageous to 
his people. 

After such instances of political frugality, can we 
then continue to blame the Dutch ambassador at a 
certain court, who, receiving at his departure the 
portrait of the king enriched with diamonds, asked 
what this fine thing might be worth? Being told 
that it might amount to about two thousand pounds, 
" And why," cries he, " cannot his majesty keep the 
picture and give the money!" The simplicity may 
be ridiculed at first ; but, when we come to examine 
it more closely, men of sense will at once confess 
that he had reason in what he said, and that a purse 
of two thousand guineas is much more serviceable 
than a picture. 

Should we follow the same method of state fru- 
gality in other respects, what numberless savings 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 273 

might not be the result! How many possibilities 
of saving in the administration of justice, which 
now burdens the subject, and enriches some mem- 
bers of society, who are useful only from its corrup- 
tion! 

It were to be wished that they who govern king- 
doms would imitate artisans. When at London a 
new stuff has been invented, it is immediately coun- 
terfeited in France. How happy were it for society 
if a first minister would be equally solicitous to 
transplant the useful laws of other countries into 
his own. We are arrived at a perfect imitation of 
porcelain ; let us endeavour to imitate the good to 
society that our neighbours are found to practise, 
and let our neighbours also imitate those parts of 
duty in which we excel. 

There are some men who in their garden attempt 
to raise those fruits which nature had adapted only 
to the sultry climes beneath the line.. We have at 
our very doors a thousand laws and customs infi- 
nitely useful : these are the fruits we should endeav- 
our to transplant ; these the exotics that would 
speedily become naturalized to the soil. They 
might grow in every climate, and benefit every pos- 
sessor. 

The best and the most useful laws I have ever 
seen are generally practised in Holland. When 
two men are determined to go to law with each oth- 
er, they are first obliged to go before the reconciling 
judges, called the peacemakers. If the parties come 
attended with an advocate or a solicitor, they are 
obliged to retire, as we take fuel from the fire we 
are desirous of extinguishing. 

The peacemakers then begin advising the par- 
ties, by assuring them that it is the height of folly 
to waste their substance, and make themselves mu- 
tually miserable, by having recourse to the tribunals 
of justice ; follow but our direction, and we will ac- 
commodate matters without any expense to either. 



274 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

If the rage of debate is too strong upon either party, 
they are remitted back for another day, in order that 
time may soften their tempers, and produce a rec- 
onciliation. They are thus sent for twice or thrice ; 
if their folly happens to be incurable, they are per- 
mitted to go to law ; and as we give up to amputa- 
tion such members as cannot be cured by art, justice 
is permitted to take its course. 

It is unnecessary to make here long declamations, 
or calculate what society would save were this 
law adopted. I am sensible that the man who ad- 
vises any reformation only serves to make himself 
ridiculous. What! mankind will be apt to say, 
adopt the customs of countries that have not so 
much real liberty as our own 1 Our present customs, 
•what are they to any man ? We are very happy un- 
der them ; this must be a very pleasant fellow, who 
attempts to make us happier than we already are ! 
Does he not know that abuses are the patrimony of 
a great part of the nation ? Why deprive us of a 
malady by which such numbers find their account ? 
This, I must own, is an argument to which I have 
nothing to reply. 

What numberless savings might there not be made 
in both arts and commerce, particularly in the lib- 
erty of exercising trade without the necessary per- 
quisites of freedom * Such useless obstructions have 
crept into every state from a spirit of monopoly, a 
narrow, selfish spirit of gain, without the least atten- 
tion to general society. Such a clog upon industry 
frequently drives the poor from labour, and reduces 
them, by degrees, to a state of hopeless indigence. 
We have already a more than sufficient repugnance 
to labour; we should by no means increase the ob- 
stacles, or make excuses in a state for idleness. 
Such faults have ever crept into a state under wrong 
or needy administrations. 

Exclusive of the masters, there are numberless 
faulty expenses among the workmen; clubs, gar- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 275 

Irishes, freedoms, and such like impositions, which 
are not too minute even for law to take notice of, 
and which should be abolished without mercy, since 
they are ever the inlets to excess and idleness, and 
are the parent of all those outrages which naturally 
fall upon the more useful part of society. In the 
town and countries I have seen, 1 never saw a city 
or village yet whose miseries were not in propor- 
tion to the number of its public houses. In Rotter- 
dam you may go through eight or ten streets with- 
out finding a public-house. In Antwerp almost 
every second house seems an alehouse. In the 
one city, all wears the appearance of happiness and 
warm influence ; in the other, the young fellows 
walk about the streets in shabby finery, their fathers 
sit at the doors darning or knitting stockings, while 
their ports are filled with dunghills. 

Alehouses are ever an occasion of debauchery and 
excess, and, either in a religious or political light, it 
would be our highest interest to have the greatest 
part of them suppressed. They should be put under 
laws of not continuing open beyond a certain hour, 
and harbouring only proper persons. These rules, 
it may be said, will diminish the necessary taxes ; 
but this is false reasoning, since what was consumed 
in debauchery abroad, would, if such a regulation 
took place, be more justly, and, perhaps, more equita- 
bly for the workman's family, spent at home ; and 
this cheaper to them, and without loss of time. On 
the other hand, our alehouses, being ever open, in- 
terrupt business ; the workman is never certain who 
frequents them, nor can the master be sure of hav- 
ing what was begun, finished at the convenient time. 

A habit of frugality among the lower orders of 
mankind is much more beneficial to society than 
the unreflecting might imagine. The pawnbroker, 
the attorney, and other pests of society might, by 
proper management, be turned into serviceable mem- 
bers ; and, were trades abolished, it is possible the 



276 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

same avarice that conducts the one, or the same chi* 
canery that characterizes the other, might, by proper 
regulations, be converted into frugality and com- 
mendable prudence. 

But some have made the eulogium of luxury, have 
represented it as the natural consequence of every 
country that is become rich, Did we not employ 
our extraordinary wealth in superfluities, say they,, 
what other means would there be to employ it in? 
To which it may be answered, if frugality were es^ 
tablished in the state, if our expenses were laid out 
rather in the necessaries than the superfluities of 
life, there might be fewer wants, and even fewer 
pleasures, but infinitely more happiness. The rich 
and the great would be better able to satisfy their 
creditors ; they would be better able to marry their 
children, and, instead of one marriage at present, 
there might be two if such regulations took place. 

The imaginary calls of vanity, which, in reality, 
contribute nothing to our real felicity, would not then 
be attended to, while the real calls of nature might 
be always and universally supplied. The difference 
of employment in the subject is what, in reality, 
produces the good of society. If the subject be en- 
gaged in providing only the luxuries, the necessa- 
ries must be deficient in proportion. If, neglecting 
the produce of our own country, our minds are set 
upon the productions of another, we increase our 
wants, but not our means ; and every new-imported 
delicacy for our tables, or ornament in our equipage, 
is a tax upon the poor. 

The true interest of every country is to cultivate 
the necessaries, by which is always meant every 
happiness our own country can produce ; and sup- 
press all the luxuries, by which is meant, on the 
other hand, every happiness imported from abroad. 
Commerce has, therefore, its bounds ; and every 
new import, instead of receiving encouragement, 
should be first examined whether it be conducive to 
the interest of society. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 277 

Among the many publications with which the 
press is every day burdened, I have often wondered 
why we never had, as in other countries, an Eco- 
nomical Journal, which might at once direct to all 
the useful discoveries in other countries, and spread 
those of our own. As other journals serve to 
amuse the learned, or, what is more often the case, 
to make them quarrel, while they only serve to give 
us the history of the mischievous world — for so 
may the learned be called — they never trouble their 
heads about the most useful part of mankind, our 
peasants and our artisans. Were such a work car- 
ried into execution, with proper management and 
just direction, it might serve as a repository for ev- 
ery useful improvement, and increase that knowl- 
edge which learning often serves to confound. 

Sweden seems the only country where the sci- 
ence of economy appears to have fixed its empire. 
In other countries it is cultivated only by a few ad- 
mirers, or by societies which have not received suf- 
ficient sanction to become completely useful ; but 
here there is founded a royal academy destined to 
this purpose only, composed of the most learned 
and powerful members of the state ; an academy 
which declines everything which only terminates in 
amusement, erudition, or curiosity, and admits only 
of observations tending to illustrate husbandry, ag- 
riculture, and every real physical improvement. In 
this country nothing is left to private rapacity : but 
every improvement is immediately diffused, and its 
inventor immediately recompensed by the state. 
Happy were it so in other countries : by this means 
every impostor would be prevented from ruining or 
deceiving the public with pretended discoveries or 
nostrums, and every real inventor would not, by this 
means, suffer the inconveniences of suspicion. 

In short, the economy equally unknown to the 
prodigal and avaricious seems to be a just mean be- 
tween both extremes ; and to a transgression of this 

Vol. II. — A a 



278 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

at present decried virtue it is that we are to attribute 
a great part of the evils which infest society. A 
taste for superfluity, amusement, and pleasure, bring 
effeminacy, idleness, and expense in their train. 
But a thirst for riches is always proportioned to our 
debauchery, and the greatest is too frequently found 
to be the greatest miser : so that the vices which 
seem the most opposite are frequently found to pro- 
duce each other ; and, to avoid both, it is only neces- 
sary to be frugal. 



UPON UNFORTUNATE MERIT. 

Every age seems to have its favourite pursuits, 
which serve to amuse the idle, and to relieve the at- 
tention of the industrious. Happy the man who is 
born excellent in the pursuit of vogue, and whose 
genius seems adapted to the times in which he lives. 
How many do we see who might have excelled in 
arts or sciences, and who seem furnished with tal- 
ents equal to the greatest discoveries, had the road 
not been already beaten by their predecessors, and 
nothing left for them except trifles to discover, while 
others of very moderate abilities become famous, 
because happening to be first in the reigning pursuit. 

Thus, at the renewal of letters in Europe, the taste 
was not to compose new books, but to comment on 
the old ones. It was not to be expected that new 
books should be written when there were so many 
of the ancients either not known or not understood. 
It was not reasonable to attempt new conquests 
while they had such an extensive region lying waste 
for want of cultivation. At that period, criticism 
and erudition were the reigning studies of the times ; 
and he who had only an inventive genius might have 
languished in hopeless obscurity. When the writers 
of antiquity were sufficiently explained and known, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 279 

the learned set about imitating them : hence pro- 
ceeded the number of Latin orators, poets, and his- 
torians in the reigns of Clement VII. and Alex- 
ander VI. This passion for antiquity lasted for 
many years, to the utter exclusion of every other 
pursuit, till some began to find that those works 
which were imitated from nature were more like 
the writings of antiquity than even those written in 
express imitation. It was then modern language 
began to be cultivated with assiduity, and our poets 
and orators poured forth their wonders upon the 
world. 

As writers become more numerous, it is natural 
for readers to become more indolent, whence must 
necessarily arise a desire of attaining knowledge 
with the greatest possible ease. No science or art 
offers its instruction and amusement in so obvious 
a manner as statuary and painting. Hence we see 
that a desire of cultivating these arts generally at- 
tends the decline of science. Thus the finest stat- 
ues and the most beautiful paintings of antiquity 
preceded but a little the absolute decay of every sci- 
ence. The statues of Antoninus, Commodus, and 
their contemporaries are the finest productions of 
the chisel, and appeared but just before learning was 
destroyed by comment, criticism, and barbarous in- 
vasions. 

What happened in Rome may probably be the case 
with us at home. Our nobility are now more soli- 
citous in patronising painters and sculptors than 
those of any other light profession ; and from the 
lord who has his gallery, down to the 'prentice who 
has his twopenny copperplate, all' are admirers of 
this art. The great, by their caresses, seem insen- 
sible to all other merit but that of the pencil ; and 
the vulgar buy every book rather from the excel- 
lence of the sculptor than the writer. 

How happy were it now if men of real excellence 
m that profession were to arise ! Were the paint- 



280 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

ers of Italy now to appear who once wandered like 
beggars from one city to another, and produce their 
almost breathing figures, what rewards might they 
not expect ! But many of them lived without re- 
wards, and therefore rewards alone will never pro- 
duce their equals. We have often found the great 
exert themselves not only without promotion, but in 
spite of opposition. We have often found them 
flourishing, like medical plants, in a region of sav- 
ageness and barbarity, their excellence unknown, 
and their virtues unheeded. 

They who have seen the paintings of Caravagio 
are sensible of the surprising impression they make ; 
bold, swelling, terrible to the last degree : all seems 
animated, and speaks him among the foremost of 
his profession ; yet this man's fortune and his fame 
seemed ever in opposition to each other. 

Unknowing how to flatter the great, he was driv- 
en from city to city in the utmost indigence, and 
might truly be said to paint for his bread. 

Having one day insulted a person of distinction, 
who refused to pay him all the respect which he 
thought his due, he was obliged to leave Rome, and 
travel on foot, his usual method of going his journeys 
down into the country, without either money or 
friends to subsist him. 

After he had travelled in this manner as long as 
his strength would permit, faint with famine and fa- 
tigue, he at last called at an obscure inn by the way- 
side. The host knew, by the appearance of his 
guest, his indifferent circumstances, and refused to 
fnrnish him a dinner without previous payment. 

As Caravagio was entirely destitute of money, he 
took down the innkeeper's sign and painted it anew 
for his dinner. 

Thus refreshed, he proceeded on his journey, and 
left the innkeeper not quite satisfied with this method 
of payment. Some company of distinction, how- 
ever, coming soon after, and struck with the beauty 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 281 

of the new sign, bought it at an advanced price, and 
astonished the innkeeper with their generosity ; he 
was resolved, therefore, to get as many signs as 
possible drawn by the same artist, as he found that 
he could sell them to good advantage, and according- 
ly set out after Caravagio in order to bring him back. 
It was nightfall before he came up to the place where 
the unfortunate Caravagio lay dead by the roadside, 
overcome by fatigue, resentment, and despair. 



DECEIT AND FALSEHOOD. 

The following account is so judiciously conceived, 
that I am convinced the reader will be more pleased 
with it than anything of mine, so I shall make no 
apology for this new publication. 

TO THE AUTHOR OF THE BEE. 

Sir, — Deceit and falsehood have ever been an over- 
match for truth, and followed and admired by the 
majority of mankind. If we inquire after the rea- 
son of this, we shall find it in our own imagina- 
tions, which are amused and entertained with the 
perpetual novelty and variety that fiction affords, but 
find no manner of delight in the uniform simplicity 
of homely truth, which still sues them under the 
same appearance. 

He, therefore, that would gain our hearts, must 
make his court to our fancy, which, being sovereign 
comptroller of the passions, lets them loose, and in- 
flames them more or less, in proportion to the force 
and efficacy of the first cause, which is ever the more 
powerful the more new it is. Thus, in mathemati- 
cal demonstrations themselves, though they seem to 
aim at pure truth and instruction, and to be addressed 
to our reason alone, yet I think it is pretty plain that 
our understanding is only made a drudge to gratify 

A a2 



282 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

our invention and curiosity, and we are pleased, not 
so much because our discoveries are certain as be- 
cause they are new. 

I do not deny but the world is still pleased with 
things that pleased it many ages ago, but it should 
not, at the same time, be considered that man is nat- 
urally so much of a logician as to distinguish be- 
tween matters that are plain and easy, and others 
that are hard and inconceivable. What we under- 
stand, we overlook and despise ; and what we know 
nothing of, we hug and delight in. Thus there are 
such things as perpetual novelties ; for we are pleas- 
ed no longer than we are amazed, and nothing so 
much contents us as that which confounds us. 

This weakness in human nature gave occasion to 
a party of men to make such gainful markets as they 
have done of our credulity. All objects and facts 
whatsoever now ceased to be what they had been 
for ever before, and received what make and mean- 
ing it was found convenient to put upon them : what 
people ate, and drank, and saw, was not what they 
ate, and drjfek, and saw, but something farther, 
which they were fond of because they were ignorant 
of it. In short, nothing was itself, but something 
beyond itself; and by these artifices and amuse- 
ments the heads of the world were so turned and 
intoxicated, that at last there was scarcely a sound 
set of brains left in it. 

In this state of giddiness and infatuation, it was no 
very hard task to persuade the already deluded that 
there was an actual society and communion between 
human creatures and spiritual demons. And when 
they had thus put people into the power and clutches 
of the devil, none but they alone could have either 
skill or strength to bring the prisoners back again. 

But so far did they carry this dreadful drollery, 
and so fond were they of it, that, to maintain it and 
themselves in profitable repute, they literally sac- 
rificed for it, and made impious victims of number- 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 283 

less old women and other miserable persons, who, 
either through ignorance, could not say what they 
were bid to say, or, through madness, said what they 
should not have said. Fear and stupidity made them 
incapable of defending themselves, and phrensy and 
infatuation made them confess guilty impossibilities, 
which produced cruel sentences, and then inhuman 
executions. 

Some of these wretched mortals, finding them- 
selves either hateful Or terrible to all, and befriended 
by none, and perhaps wanting the common necessa- 
ries of life, came at last to abhor themselves as 
much as they were abhorred by others, and grew 
willing to be burned or hanged out of a world which 
was no other to them than a scene of persecution 
and anguish. 

Others, of strong imaginations and little under- 
standings, were, by positive and repeated charges 
against them, of committing mischievous and super- 
natural facts and villanies, deluded to judge of them- 
selves by the judgment of their enemies, whose 
weakness or malice prompted them to be accusers. 
And many have been condemned as witches and 
dealers with the devil for no other reason but their 
knowing more than those who accused, tried, and 
passed sentence upon them. 

In these cases, credulity is a much greater error 
than infidelity, and it is safer to believe nothing than 
too much. A man that believes little or nothing of 
witchcraft will destroy nobody for being under the 
imputation of it, and so far he certainly acts with 
humanity to others and safety to himself ; but he 
that credits all, or too much, upon that article, is 
obliged, if he acts consistently with his persuasion, 
to kill all those whom he takes to be killers of man- 
kind : and such are witches. It would be a jest and 
a contradiction to say that he is for sparing them 
who are harmless of that tribe, since the received 
notion of their supposed contract with the devil im- 



284 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

plies that they are engaged, by covenant and incli- 
nation, to do all the mischief they possibly can. 

I have heard many stories of witches, and read 
many accusations against them ; but I do not re- 
member any that would have induced me to have 
consigned over to the halter or the flame any of 
those deplorable wretches, who, as they share our 
likeness and nature, ought to share our compassion, 
as persons cruelly accused of impossibilities. 

But we love to delude ourselves, and often fancy 
or forge an effect, and then set ourselves as gravely 
as ridiculously to find out the cause. Thus, for. ex- 
ample, when a dream or the hyp has given us false 
terrors or imaginary pains, we immediately con- 
clude that the infernal tyrant owes us a spite, and 
inflicts his wrath and stripes upon us by the hands 
of some of his sworn servants among us. For this 
end an old woman is promoted to a seat in Satan's 
privy-council, and appointed his executioner-in-chief 
within her district. So ready and civil are we to 
allow the devil the dominion over us, and even to 
provide him with butchers and hangmen of our own 
make and nature. 

I have often wondered why we did not, in choos- 
ing our proper officers for Beelzebub, lay the lot 
rather upon men than women, the former being 
more bold and robust, and more equal to that bloody 
service ; but, upon inquiry, I find it has been so or- 
dered for two reasons : first, the men, having the 
whole direction of this affair, are wise enough to slip 
their own necks out of the collar ; and, secondly, an 
old woman is grown by custom the most avoided 
and most unpitied creature under the sun, the very 
name carrying contempt and satire in it. And so 
far, indeed, we pay but an uncourtly sort of respect 
to Satan, in sacrificing to him nothing but dry sticks 
of human nature. 

We have a ivondering quality within us, which 
finds huge gratification when we see strange feats 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 285 

done, and cannot, at the same time, see the doer or 
the cause. Such actions are sure to be attributed 
to some witch or demon ; for, if we come to find 
they are slyly performed by artists of our own spe- 
cies, and by causes purely natural, our delight dies 
with our amazement. 

It is, therefore, one of the most unthankful offices 
in the world to go about to expose the mistaken no- 
tions of withcraft and spirits ; it is robbing mankind 
of a valuable imagination, and of the privilege of 
being deceived. Those who at any time undertook 
the task, have always met with rough treatment and 
ill language for their pains, and seldom escaped the 
imputation of atheism, because they would not al- 
low the devil to be too powerful for the Almighty. 
For my part, I am so much a heretic as to believe 
that God Almighty, and not the devil, governs the 
world. 

If we inquire what are the common marks and 
symptoms by which witches are discovered to be 
such, we shall see how reasonably and mercifully 
those poor creatures were burned and hanged who 
unhappily fell under that name. 

In the first place, the old woman must be pro- 
digiously ugly ; her eyes hollow and red, her face 
shrivelled ; she goes double, and her voice trembles. 
It frequently happens that this rueful figure fright- 
ens a child into the palpitation of the heart : home 
he nans, and tells his mamma that Goody Such a 
One looked at him, and he is very ill. The good 
woman cries out her dear baby is bewitched, and 
sends for the parson and the constable. 

It is, moreover, necessary that she be very poor. 
It is true her master, Satan, has mines and hidden 
treasures in his gift ; but no matter ; she is, for all 
that, very poor, and lives on alms. She goes to 
Sisly the cookmaid for a dish of broth or the heel 
of a loaf, and Sisly denies them to her. The old 
woman goes away muttering, and perhaps, in less 



286 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

than a month's time, Sisly hears the voice of a cat, 
and strains her ancles, which are certain signs that 
she is bewitched. 

A farmer sees his cattle die of the murrain, and 
his sheep of the rot, and poor Goody is forced to be 
the cause of their death, because she was seen talk- 
ing to herself the evening before such a ewe depart- 
ed, and had been gathering sticks at the side of the 
wood where such a cow run mad. 

The old woman has always for her companion an 
old gray cat, which is a disguised devil too, and con- 
federate with Goody in works of darkness. They 
frequently go journeys into Egypt upon a broom- 
staff in half an hour's time, and now and then Goody 
and her cat change shapes. The neighbours often 
overhear them in deep and solemn discourse to- 
gether, plotting some dreadful mischief, you may 
be sure. 

There is a famous way of trying witches recom- 
mended by King James I. The old woman is tied 
hand and foot, thrown into the river, and, if she 
swims, she is guilty, and taken out and burned ; if 
she is innocerit, she sinks, and is only drowned. 

The witches are said to meet their masters fre- 
quently in churches and churchyards. I wonder at 
the boldness of Satan and his congregation, in rev- 
elling and playing mountebank farces on consecra- 
ted ground ; and I have as often wondered at the 
oversight and ill policy of some people in allowing 
it possible. 

It would have been both dangerous and impious 
to have treated this subject at one certain time in 
this ludicrous manner. It used to be managed with 
all possible gravity, and even terror ; and, indeed, it 
was made a tragedy in all its parts, and thousands 
were sacrificed, or, rather, murdered, by such evi- 
dence and colours as, God be thanked ! we are this 
day ashamed of. An old woman may be miserable 
now, and not be hanged for it. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 287 



SCHEME FOR RAISING AN ARMY OF AM- 
AZONS PROPOSED. 

I have spent the greater part of my life in making 
observations on men and things, and in projecting 
schemes for the advantage of my country ; and, 
though my labours have met with an ungrateful re- 
turn, I will still persist in my endeavours for its ser- 
vice, like that venerable, unshaken, and neglected 
patriot, Mr. Jacob Henriquez, who, though of the 
Hebrew nation, hath exhibited a shining example of 
Christian fortitude and perseverance.* And here 
my conscience urges me to confess, that the hint 
upon which the following proposals are built was 
taken from an advertisement of the said patriot Hen- 
riquez, in which he gave the public to understand 
that Heaven had indulged him with " seven blessed 
daughters." Blessed they are, no doubt, on account 
of their own and their father's virtues ; but more 
blessed may they be if the scheme 1 offer should 
be adopted by the Legislature. 

The proportion which the number of females born 
in these kingdoms bears to the male children, is, I 
think, supposed to* be as thirteen to fourteen: but, 
as women are not so subject as the other sex to 
accidents and intemperance, in numbering adults we 
shall find the balance on the female side. If, in cal- 
culating the numbers of the people, we take in the 
multitudes that emigrate to the plantations, whence 
they never return ; those that die at sea, and make 
their exit at Tyburn; together with the consump- 

* A man well-known at this period (1762), as well as during 
many preceding years, for the numerous schemes he was daily 
offering to various ministers for the purpose of raising money 
by loans, paying off the national encumbrances, &c, &c, none 
of which, however, were ever known to have received the 
smallest notice. 



288 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. ' 

tion of the present war by sea and land ; in the 
Atlantic, Mediterranean, in the German and Indian 
Oceans, in Old France, New France, North Ameri- 
ca, the Leeward Islands, Germany, Africa, and Asia, 
we may fairly state the loss of men during the war 
at one hundred thousand. If this be the case, there 
must be a superplus of the other sex amounting to 
the same number, and this superplus will consist of 
women able to bear arms ; as I take it for granted 
that all those who are fit to bear children are like- 
wise fit to bear arms. Now, as we have seen the 
nation governed by old women, I hope to make it 
appear that it may be defended by young women ; 
and surely this scheme will not be rejected as un- 
necessary at such a juncture,* when our armies in 
the four quarters of the globe are in want of re- 
cruits ; when we find ourselves entangled in a new 
war with Spain, on the eve of a rupture in Italy, and, 
indeed, in a fair way of being obliged to make head 
against all the great potentates of Europe. 

But, before I unfold my design, it may be neces- 
sary to obviate, from experience as well as argu- 
ment, the objections which may be made to the del- 
icate frame and tender disposition of the female sex, 
rendering them incapable of the toils, and insupera- 
bly averse to the horrors of war. All the world has 
heard of the nation of Amazons, who inhabited the 
banks of the river Thermodoon in Cappadocia, who 
expelled their men by force of arms, defended them- 
selves by their own prowess, managed the reins of 
government, prosecuted the operations of war, and 
held the other sex in the utmost contempt. We are 
informed by Homer that Penthesilea, queen of the 
Amazons, acted as auxiliary to Priam, and fell, val- 
iantly fighting in his cause, before the walls of Troy. 
Quintus Curtius tells us that Thalestris brought one 
hundred armed Amazons in a present to Alexander 

* In the year 1762. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 289 

the Great. Diodoms Siculus expressly says there 
was a nation of female warriors in Africa, who 
fought against the Libyan Hercules. We read in 
the voyages of Columbus that one of the Caribbee 
Islands was possessed by a tribe of female warriors, 
who kept all the neighbouring Indians in awe ; but 
we need not go farther than our own age and coun- 
try to prove that the spirit and constitution of the 
fair sex are equal to the dangers and fatigues of war. 
Every novice who has read the authentic and im- 
portant History of the Pirates, is well acquainted 
with the exploits of two heroines called Mary Read 
and Anne Bonny. I myself have had the honour to 
drink with. Anne Cassier, alias Mother Wade, who 
had distinguished herself among the Bucaniers of 
America, and in her old age kept a punch-house in 
Port Royal of Jamaica. I have likewise conversed 
with Moll Davis, who had served as a dragoon in 
all Queen Anne's wars, and was admitted on the 
pension of Chelsea. The late war with Spain, and 
even the present, hath produced instances of females 
enlisting, both in the land and sea service, and be- 
having with remarkable bravery in the disguise of 
the other sex. And who has not hear:' of the cele- 
brated Jenny Cameron, and some other enterprising 
ladies of North Britain, who attended a certain ad- 
venturer in all his expeditions, and headed their re- 
spective clans in a military character ! That strength 
of body is often equal to the courage of mind im- 
planted in the fair sex, will not be denied by those 
who have seen the water- women of Plymouth ; the 
female drudges of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland; 
the fishwomen of Billingsgate ; the weeders, pod- 
ders, and hoppers who swarm in the fields ; and the 
bunters who swagger in the streets of London. 

There is scarcely a street in this metropolis with- 
out one or more viragoes, who discipline their hus- 
bands and domineer over the whole neighbourhood. 
Many months are not elapsed since I was witness 

Vol. II.— Bb 



290 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

to a pitched battle between two athletic females, 
who fought with equal skill and fury until one of 
them gave out, after having sustained seven falls 
on the hard stones. They were both stripped to their 
under petticoats ; their breasts were carefully swath- 
ed with handkerchiefs ; and, as no vestiges of fea- 
tures were to be seen in either when I came up, I 
imagined the combatants were of the other sex until 
a by-stander assured me of the contrary. When I 
see the avenues of the Strand beset every night 
with troops of fierce Amazons, who, with dreadful 
imprecations, stop, and beat, and plunder passengers, 
I cannot help wishing that such martial talents were 
converted to the benefit of the public ; and that those 
who are so loaded with temporal fire, and so little 
afraid of eternal fire, should, instead of ruining the 
souls and bodies of their fellow-citizens, be put in a 
way of turning their destructive qualities against 
the enemies of the nation. 

Having thus demonstrated that the fair sex are 
not deficient in strength and resolution, I would hum- 
bly propose that, as there is an excess on their side 
in quantity to the amount of one hundred thousand, 
part of that number may be employed in recruiting 
the army, as well as in raising thirty new Amazo- 
nian regiments, to be commanded by females, and 
serve in regimentals adapted to their sex. The 
Amazons of old appeared with the left breast bare, 
an open jacket, and trousers that descended no far- 
ther than the knee ; the right breast was destroyed, 
that it might not impede them in bending the bow or 
darting the javelin : but there is no occasion for this 
cruel excision in the present discipline, as we have 
seen instances of women who handle the musket 
without feeling any inconvenience from that protu- 
berance. 

As the sex love gayety, they may be clothed in 
vests of pink satin, and open drawers of the same, 
with buskins on their feet and legs, their hair tied 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 291 

behind and floating on their shoulders, and their hats 
adorned with white feathers : they may be armed 
with light carbines and long bayonets, without the 
encumbrance of swords or shoulder-belts. I make 
no doubt but many young ladies of figure and fash- 
ion will undertake to raise companies at their own 
expense, provided they like their colonels ; but I 
must insist upon it, if this scheme should be em- 
braced, that Mr. Henriquez's seven blessed daugh- 
ters may be provided with commissions, as the 
project is in some measure owing to the hints of that 
venerable patriot. 

A female brigade, properly disciplined and ac- 
coutred, would not, I am persuaded, be afraid to 
charge a numerous body of the enemy, over whom 
they would have a manifest advantage ; for, if the 
barbarous Scythians were afraid to fight with the 
Amazons who invaded them, surely the French, 
who pique themselves on their sensibility and devo- 
tion to the fair sex, would not act upon the defen- 
sive against a band of female warriors, arrayed in 
all the charms of youth and beauty. 



ON NATIONAL PREJUDICE. 

As I am one of that sauntering tribe of mortals 
who spend the greatest part of their time in taverns, 
coffee-houses, and other places of public resort, I 
have thereby an opportunity of observing an infinite 
variety of characters, which, to a person of a con- 
templative turn, is a much higher entertainment 
than a view of all the curiosities of art or nature. 
In one of these my late rambles, I accidentally fell 
into company with half a dozen gentlemen who 
were engaged in a warm dispute about some politi- 
cal affair ; the decision of which, as they were 
equally divided in their sentiments, they thought 



292 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

proper to refer to me, which naturally drew me in 
for a share of the conversation. 

Among a multiplicity of other topics, we took oc- 
casion to talk of the different characters of the sev- 
eral nations of Europe ; when one of the gentlemen, 
cocking his hat, and assuming such an air of impor- 
tance as if he had possessed all the merit of the 
English nation in his own person, declared that the 
Dutch were a parcel of avaricious wretches ; the 
French a set of flattering sycophants ; that the 
Germans were drunken sots and beastly gluttons ; 
and the Spaniards proud, haughty, and surly ty- 
rants ; but that in bravery, generosity, clemency, 
and in every other virtue, the English excelled all 
the rest of the world. 

This very learned and judicious remark was re- 
ceived with a general smile of approbation by all 
the company— all, I mean, but your humble ser- 
vant ; who, endeavouring to keep my gravity as 
well as I could, and reclining my head upon my arm, 
continued for some tiuie in a posture of affected 
thoughtfulness, as if I had been musing on some- 
thing else, and did not seem to attend to the subject 
of conversation ; hoping by these means to avoid 
the disagreeable necessity of explaining myself, and 
thereby depriving the gentleman of his imaginary 
happiness. 

But my pseudo-patriot had no mind to let me es- 
cape so easily. Not satisfied that his opinion should 
Eass without contradiction, he was determined to 
ave it ratified by the suffrage of every one in the 
company ; for which purpose, addressing himself to 
me with an air of inexpressible confidence, he asked 
me if I was not of the same way of thinking. As 
I am never forward in giving my opinion, especially 
when I have reason to believe that it will not be 
agreeable, so, when I am obliged to give it, I always 
hold it for a maxim to speak my real sentiments. I 
therefore told him that, for my own part, I should 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 293 

not have ventured to talk in such a peremptory 
strain unless I had made the tour of Europe, and 
examined the manners of these several nations 
with great care and accuracy ; that perhaps a more 
impartial judge would not scruple to affirm that the 
Dutch were more frugal and industrious, the French 
more temperate and polite, the Germans more hardy 
and patient of labour and fatigue, and the Spaniards 
more staid and sedate, than the English ; who, though 
undoubtedly brave and generous, were, at the same 
time, rash, headstrong, and impetuous ; too apt to 
be elated with prosperity, and to despond in adver- 
sity. 

I could easily perceive that all the company began 
to regard me with a jealous eye before I had finish- 
ed my answer, which I had no sooner done than the 
patriotic gentleman observed, with a contemptuous 
sneer, that he was greatly surprised how some peo- 
ple could have the conscience to live in a country 
which they did not love, and to enjoy the protection 
of a government to which, in their hearts, they were 
inveterate enemies. Finding that by this modest 
declaration of my sentiments I had forfeited the good 
opinion of my companions, and given them occasion 
to call my political principles in question, and well 
knowing that it was in vain to argue with men who 
were so very full of themselves, I threw down my 
reckoning and retired to my own lodgings, reflecting 
on the absurd and ridiculous nature of national prej- 
udice and prepossession. 

Among all the famous sayings of antiquity, there 
is none that does greater honour to the author, or 
affords greater pleasure to the reader (at least, if he 
be a person of a generous and benevolent heart), 
than that of the philosopher, who, being asked what 
" countryman he was," replied that he was " a cit- 
izen of the world." How few are there to be found 
in modern times who can say the same, or whose 
conduct is consistent with such a profession : We 

Bb2 



294 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

are now become so much Englishmen, Frenchmen, 
Dutchmen, Spaniards, or Germans, that we are no 
longer citizens of the world ; so much the natives of 
one particular spot, or members of one petty society, 
that we no longer consider ourselves as the general 
inhabitants of the globe, or members of that grand 
society which comprehends the whole human kind. 

Did these prejudices prevail only among the mean- 
est and the lowest of the people, perhaps they might 
be excused, as they have few, if any, opportunities 
of correcting them by reading, travelling, or con- 
versing with foreigners ; but the misfortune is, that 
they infect the minds and influence the conduct even 
of our gentlemen ; of those, I mean, who have every 
title to this appellation but an exemption from preju- 
dice, which, however, in my opinion, ought to be 
regarded as the characteristical mark of a gentle- 
man ; for, let a man's birth be ever so high, his sta- 
tion ever so exalted, or his fortune ever so large, yet, 
if he is not free from national and other prejudices, 
I should make bold to tell him that he had a low 
and vulgar mind, and had no just claim to the char- 
acter of a gentleman. And, in fact, you will always 
find that those are most apt to boast of national 
merit who have little or no merit of their own to 
depend on ; than which, to be sure, nothing is more 
natural : the slender vine twists around the sturdy 
oak, for no other reason in the world but because it 
has not strength sufficient to support itself. 

Should it be alleged in defence of national preju- 
dice that it is the natural and necessary growth of 
love to our country, and that, therefore, the former 
cannot be destroj 7 ed without hurting the latter, I an- 
swer that this is a gross fallacy and delusion. That 
it is the growth of love to our country I will allow ; 
but that it is the natural and necessary growth of it 
I absolutely deny. Superstition and enthusiasm, 
too, are the growth of religion ; but who ever took 
It in his head to affirm that they are the necessary 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 295 

growth of this noble principle 1 They are, if you 
will, the bastard sprouts of this heavenly plant, but 
not its natural and genuine branches, and may safely 
enough be lopped off without doing any harm to the 
parent stock ; nay, perhaps, till once they are lopped 
off, this goodly tree can never nourish in perfect 
health and vigour. 

Is it not very possible that I may love my own 
country without hating the natives of other coun- 
tries ; that I may exert the most heroic bravery, the 
most undaunted resolution, in defending its laws and 
liberty, without despising all the rest of the world as 
cowards and poltroons 1 Most certainly it is ; and 
if it were not — but why need I suppose what is ab- 
solutely impossible 1 — but if it were not, I must own, 
I should prefer the title of the ancient philosopher, 
viz., a citizen of the world, to that of an Englishman, 
a Frenchman, a European, or to any other appella- 
tion whatever. 



ON TASTE. 

Amid the frivolous pursuits and pernicious dissi- 
pations of the present age, a respect for the qualities 
of the understanding still prevails to such a degree 
that almost every individual pretends to have a taste 
for the Belles Lettres. The spruce 'prentice sets 
up for a critic, and the puny beau piques himself 
upon being a connoisseur. Without assigning causes 
for this universal presumption, we shall proceed to 
observe, that if it was attended with no other incon- 
venience than that of exposing the pretender to the 
ridicule of the few who can sift his pretensions, it 
might be unnecessary to undeceive the public, or to 
endeavour at the reformation of innocent folly, pro- 
ductive of no evil to the commonwealth. But, in 
reality, this folly is productive of manifold evils to 



296 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

the community. If the reputation of taste can be 
acquired without the least assistance of literature, 
by reading modern poems and seeing modern plays, 
what person will deny himself the pleasure of such 
an easy qualification T Hence the youth of both 
sexes are debauched to diversion, and seduced from 
much more profitable occupations into idle endeav- 
ours after literary fame ; and a superficial false 
taste, founded on ignorance and conceit, takes pos- 
session of the public. The acquisition of learning, 
the study of nature, is neglected as superfluous la- 
bour, and the best faculties of the mind remain un- 
exercised, and, indeed, unopened by the power of 
thought and reflection. False taste will not only 
diffuse itself through all our amusements, but even 
influence our moral and political conduct ; for what 
is false taste but want of perception to discern pro- 
priety and distinguish beauty 1 

It has often been alleged that taste is a natural 
talent, as independent of art as strong eyes or a del- 
icate sense of smelling; and, without all doubt, the 
principal ingredient in the composition of taste is a 
natural sensibility, without which it cannot exist ; 
but it differs from the senses in this particular, that 
they are finished by Nature, whereas taste cannot 
be brought to perfection without proper cultivation ; 
for taste pretends to judge not only of nature, but 
also of art ; and that judgment is founded upon ob- 
servation and comparison. 

******* 

Yet, even though Nature has done her part by im- 
planting the seeds of taste, great pains must be taken, 
and great skill exerted, in raising them to a proper 
pitch of vegetation.* The judicious tutor must grad- 
ually and tenderly unfold the mental faculties of the 
youth committed to his charge. He must cherish 
his delicate perception ; store his mind with proper 
ideas ; point out the different channels of observa- 
tion ; teach him to compare objects ; to establish 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 297 

the limits of right and wrong, of truth and false- 
hood ; to distinguish beauty from tinsel, and grace 
from affectation ; in a word, to strengthen and im- 
prove by culture, experience, and instruction, those 
natural powers of feeling and sagacity which con- 
stitute the faculty called taste, and enable the pro- 
fessor to enjoy the delights of the Belles Lettres. 

We cannot agree in opinion with those who im- 
agine that Nature has been equally favourable to all 
men, in conferring upon them a fundamental capacity 
which may be improved to all the refinement of taste 
and criticism. Every day's experience convinces us 
of the contrary. Of two youths educated under the 
same preceptor, instructed with the same care, and 
cultivated with the same assiduity, one shall not only 
comprehend, but even anticipate the lessons of his 
master by dint of natural discernment, while the other 
toils in vain to imbibe the least tincture of instruc- 
tion. Such, indeed, is the distinction between genius 
and stupidity, which every man has an opportunity 
of seeing among his friends and acquaintance. Not 
that we ought too hastily to decide upon the natural 
capacities of children before we have maturely con- 
sidered the peculiarity of disposition, and the bias 
by which genius may be strangely warped from the 
common path of education. A youth incapable of 
retaining one rule of grammar, or of acquiring the 
least knowledge of the classics, may nevertheless 
make great progress in mathematics ; nay, he may 
have a strong genius for mathematics without being 
able to comprehend a demonstration of Euclid ; be- 
cause his mind conceives in a peculiar manner, and 
is so intent upon contemplating the object in one 
particular point of view, that it cannot perceive it in 
any other. We have known an instance of a boy, 
who, while his master complained that he had not 
capacity to comprehend the properties of a right- 
angled triangle, had actually, in private, by the power 
of his genius, formed a mathematical system of his 



298 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

own, discovered a series of curious theorems, and 
even applied his deductions to practical machines 
of surprising construction. Besides, in the educa- 
tion of youth, we ought to remember that some ca- 
pacities are like the pyra prcecoce ; they soon blow, 
and soon attain to all that degree of maturity which 
they are capable of acquiring ; while, on the other 
hand, there are geniuses of slow growth, that are 
late in bursting the bud, and long in ripening. Yet 
the first shall yield a faint blossom and insipid fruit, 
whereas the produce of the other shall be distin- 
guished and admired for their well-concocted juice 
and exquisite flavour. We have known a boy of 
five years of age surprise everybody by playing on 
the violin in such a manner as seemed to promise a 
prodigy in music. He had all the assistance that 
arc could afford ; by the age of ten his genius was at 
the aK/uT] ; yet after that period, notwithstanding the 
most intense application, he never gave the least 
signs of improvement. At six he was admired as 
a miracle of music ; at six-and-twenty he was neg- 
lected as an ordinary fiddler. The celebrated Dean 
Swift was a remarkable instance in the other ex- 
treme. He was long considered as an incorrigible 
dunce, and did not obtain his degree at the Univer- 
sity but ex speciali gratia : yet, when his powers be- 
gan to unfold, he signalized himself by a very re- 
markable superiority of genius. When a youth, 
therefore, appears dull of apprehension, and seems 
to derive no advantage from study and instruction, 
the tutor must exercise his sagacity in discovering 
whether the soil be absolutely barren, or sown with 
seed repugnant to its nature, or of such a quality as 
requires repeated culture and length of time to set 
its juices in fermentation. These observations, 
however, relate to capacity in general, which we 
ought carefully to distinguish from taste. Capacity 
implies the power of retaining what is received : 
taste is the power of relishing or rejecting whatever 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 299 

is offered for the entertainment of the imagination. 
A man may have capacity to acquire what is called 
learning and philosophy ; but he must have also sen- 
sibility, before he feels those emotions with which 
taste receives the impression of beauty. 

Natural taste is apt to be seduced and debauched 
by vicious precepts and bad example. There is a 
dangerous tinsel in false taste, by which the unwary 
mind and young imagination are often fascinated. 
Nothing has been so often explained, and yet so little 
understood, as simplicity in writing. Simplicity in 
this acceptation has a larger signification than ei- 
ther the d7i?,oov of the Greeks or the simplex of the 
Latins ; for it implies beauty. It is the unloov aat, 
i]6vv of Demetrius Phalereus, the simplex munditiis 
of Horace, and expressed by one word, naivete, in 
the French language. It is, in fact, no other than 
beautiful Nature, without affectation or extraneous 
ornament. In statuary, it is the Venus of Medicis ; 
in architecture, the Pantheon. It would be an end- 
less task to enumerate all the instances of this nat- 
ural simplicity that occur in poetry and painting 
among the ancients and moderns. We shall only 
mention two examples of it, the beauty of which 
consists in the pathetic. 

Anaxagoras the philosopher, and preceptor of Per- 
icles, being told both his sons were dead, laid his 
hand upon his heart, and, after a short pause, con- 
soled himself with a reflection, couched in three 
words, Tjdeiv flvrjTovs yeyevvrjKac : " I knew they were 
mortal." The other instance we select from the 
tragedy of Macbeth. The gallant Macduff, being 
informed that his wife and children were murdered 
by order of the tyrant, pulls his hat over his eyes, 
and his internal agony bursts out into an exclama- 
tion of four words, the most expressive, perhaps, 
that ever were uttered : " He has no children." 
This is the energetic language of simple Nature, 
which is now grown into disrepute. By the present 



300 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

mode of education we are forcibly warped from the 
bias of Nature, and all simplicity in manners is re- 
jected. We are taught to disguise and distort our 
sentiments, until the faculty of thinking is diverted 
into an unnatural channel ; and we not only relin- 
quish and forget, but also become incapable of our 
original dispositions. We are totally changed into 
creatures of art and affectation. Our perception is 
abused, and even our senses are perverted. Our 
minds lose their native force and flavour. The 
imagination, sweated by artificial fire, produces 
naught but vapid bloom. The genius, instead of 
growing like a vigorous tree, extending its branches 
on every side, and bearing delicious fruit, resembles 
a stunted yew, tortured into some Avretched form, 
projecting no shade, displaying no flower, diffusing 
no fragrance, yielding no fruit, and affording nothing 
but a barren conceit for the amusement of the idle 
spectator. 

Thus debauched from Nature, how can we relish 
her genuine productions 1 As well might a man 
distinguish objects through a prism, that presents 
nothing but a variety of colours to the eye. It has 
been often alleged that the passions can never be 
wholly deposited ; and that, by appealing to these, a 
good writer will always be able to force himself into 
the hearts of his readers : but even the strongest 
passions are weakened, nay, sometimes totally ex- 
tinguished, by mutual opposition, dissipation, and 
acquired insensibility. How often at the theatre is 
the tear of sympathy and the burst of laughter re- 
pressed by a ridiculous species of pride, refusing 
approbation to the author and actor, and renouncing 
society with the audience ! This seeming insensi- 
bility is not owing to any original defect. Nature 
has stretched the string, though it has long since 
ceased to vibrate. It may have been displaced and 
distracted by the violence of pride ; it may have 
lost its tone through Ion? disuse, or be so twisted 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 301 

or overstrained as to produce the most jarring dis- 
cords. 

If so little regard is paid to Nature when she 
knocks so powerfully at the breast, she must be al- 
together neglected and despised in the calmer mood 
of serene tranquillity, when nothing appears to rec- 
ommend her but simplicity, propriety, and innocence. 
A man must have delicate feelings that can taste the 
celebrated reply of Terence : Homo sum ; nihil hu- 
mani a me alienum puto : " I am a man ; therefore 
think I have an interest in everything that concerns 
humanity." A clear blue sky, spangled with stars, 
will prove an insipid object to eyes accustomed to 
the glare of torches and tapers, gilding and glitter ; 
eyes that will turn with disgust from the green man- 
tle of the spring, so gorgeously adorned with buds 
and foliage, flowers and blossoms, to contemplate a 
gaudy silken robe, striped and intersected with un- 
friendly tints, that fritter the masses of light and 
distract the vision, pinked into the most fantastic 
forms, flounced, and furbelowed, and fringed with all 
the littleness of art unknown to elegance. 

Those ears that are offended by the notes of the 
thrush, the blackbird, and the nightingale, will be re- 
galed and ravished by the squeaking fiddle, touched 
by a musician who has no other genius than that 
which lies in his fingers ; they will even be enter- 
tained with the rattling of coaches, and the alarm- 
ing knock by which the doors of fashionable people 
are so loudly distinguished. The sense of smell- 
ing, that delights in the scent of excrementitious an- 
imal juices, such as musk, civet, and urinous salts, 
will loathe the fragrance of new-mown hay, the 
sweetbrier, the honeysuckle, and the rose. The or- 
gans that are gratified with the taste of sickly veal 
bled into a palsy, crammed fowls, and dropsical 
brawn, pease without substance, peaches without 
taste, and pineapples without flavour, will certainly 
nauseate the native, genuine, and salutary taste of 

Vol. II.— C c 



302 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

Welsh beef, Banstead mutton, and barndoor fowls, 
Whose juices are concocted by a natural digestion, 
and whose flesh is consolidated by free air and ex- 
ercise. In such a total perversion of the senses, 
the ideas must be misrepresented ; the powers of 
the imagination disordered; and the judgment, of 
consequence, unsound. The disease is attended 
with a false appetite, which the natural food of the 
mind will not satisfy. 

It will prefer Ovid to Tibullus, and the rant of 
Lee to the tenderness of Otway. The soul sinks 
into a kind of sleepy idiotism, and is diverted by 
toys and bawbles whicli can only be pleasing to the 
most superficial curiosity. It is enlivened by a 
quick succession of trivial objects, that glisten and 
dance before the eye ; and, like an infant, is kept 
awake and inspirited by the sound of a rattle. It 
must not only be dazzled and aroused, but also 
cheated, hurried, and perplexed by the artifice of de- 
ception, business, intricacy, and intrigue ; a kind of 
low juggle, which may be termed the legerdemain 
of genius. ^ 

In this state of depravity the mind cannot enjoy, 
nor, indeed, distinguish the charms of natural and 
moral beauty and decorum. The ingenuous blush 
of native innocence, the plain language of ancient 
faith and sincerity, the cheerful resignation to the 
will of Heaven, the mutual affectation of the char- 
ities, the voluntary respect paid to superior dignity 
or station, the virtue of beneficence, extended even 
to the brute creation ; nay, the very crimson glow 
of health and swelling lines of beauty are despised, 
detested, scorned, and ridiculed, as ignorance, rude- 
ness, rusticity, and superstition. Thus we see how 
moral and natural beauty are connected ; and of 
what importance it is, even to the formation of taste, 
that the manners should be severely superintended. 
This is a task which ought to take the lead of sci- 
ence ; for we will venture to say that virtue is the 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 303 

foundation of taste, or, rather, that virtue and taste 
are built upon the same foundation of sensibility, 
and cannot be disjoined without offering violence to 
both. But virtue must be informed and taste in- 
structed, otherwise they will both remain imperfect 
and ineffectual. 

Qui didicit patriae quid debeat, et quid amicis, 
Quo sit amore parens, quo frater amandus, et hospes, 
Quod sit conscripti, quod judicis officium, quae 
Partes in bellum missi ducis ; ille profecto 
Reddere personae scit convenientia cuique. 

The critic, who with nice discernment knows 
What to his country and his friend he owes ; 
How various nature warms the human breast, 
To love the parent, brother, friend, or guest ; 
What the great functions of our judges are, 
Of senators, and generals sent to war; 
He can distinguish, with unerring art, 
The strokes peculiar to each different part.— Hor. 

Thus we see taste is composed of nature impro- 
ved by art, of feeling tutored by instruction. 



ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF TASTE. 

Having explained what we conceive to be true 
taste, and, in some measure, accounted for the prev- 
alence of vitiated taste, we should proceed to point 
out the most effectual manner in which a natural 
capacity may be improved into a delicacy of judg- 
ment and an intimate acquaintance" with the Belles 
Lettres. We shall take it for granted that proper 
means have been used to form the manners and 
attach the mind to virtue. The heart, cultivated by 
precept and warmed by example, improves in sensi- 
bility, which is the foundation of taste. By distin- 
guishing the influence and scope of morality, and 
cherishing the ideas of benevolence, it acquires a 
habit of sympathy, which tenderly feels responsive. 



304 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

like the vibration of unisons, every touch of moral 
beauty. Hence it is that a man of a social heart, 
entendered by the practice of virtue, is awakened 
to the most pathetic emotions by every uncommon 
instance of generosity, compassion, and greatness 
of soul. Is there any man so dead to sentiment, so 
lost to humanity, as to read unmoved the generous 
behaviour of the Romans to the states of Greece, 
as it is recounted by Livy, or embellished by Thom- 
son in his poem of Liberty 1 Speaking of Greece 
in the decline of her power, when her freedom no 
longer existed, he says : 

As at her Isthmian games, a fading pomp ! 

Her full assembled youth innumerous swarm'd, 

On a tribunal raised Flaminios* sat ; 

A victor he from the deep phalanx pierced 

Of iron-coated Macedon, and back 

The Grecian tyrant to his bounds repell'd : 

In the high, thoughtless gayety of game, 

While sport alone their unambitious hearts 

Possess'd ; the sudden trumpet, sounding hoarse, 

Bade silence o'er the bright assembly reign. 

Then thus a herald : " To the states of Greece, 

The Roman people, unconfined, restore 

Their countries, cities, liberties, and laws ; 

Taxes remit, and garrisons withdraw." 

The crowd, astonished half and half inform'd, 

Stared dubious round ; some question'd, some exclaim'd 

(Like one who, dreaming between hope and fear, 

Is lost in anxious joy), " Be that again — 

Be that again proclaim'd distinct and loud !" 

Loud and distinct it was again proclaim'd : 

And still as midnight in the rural shade, 

When the gale slumbers, they the words devour'd. 

A while severe amazement held them in : 

Then, bursting broad, the boundless shout to heaven 

From many a thousand hearts ecstatic sprung ! 

On every hand rebellow'd to them joy, 

The swelling sea, the rocks, and vocal hills — 

Like Bacchanals they flew, 

Each other straining in a strict embrace, 

Nor strain'd a slave ; and loud acclaims, till night, 

Round the proconsul's tent repeated rung. 

* His real name was Quintus Flaminiu9. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 305 

To one acquainted with the genius of Greece, the 
character and disposition of that polished people, 
admired for science, renowned for an unextinguish- 
able love of freedom, nothing can be more affecting 
than this instance of generous magnanimity of the 
Roman people, in restoring them, unasked, to the 
full' fruition of those liberties which they had so un- 
fortunately lost. 

The mind of sensibility is equally struck by the 
generous confidence of Alexander, who drinks with- 
out hesitation the potion presented by his physician 
Philip, even after he had received intimation that 
poison was contained in the cup ; a noble and pa- 
thetic scene, which hath acquired new dignity and 
expression under the inimitable pencil of a Le Sieur. 
Humanity is melted into tears of tender admiration 
by the deportment of Henry IV. of France, while 
his rebellious subjects compelled him to form the 
blockade of his capital. In chastising his enemies, 
he could not but remember they were his people ; 
and, knowing they were reduced to the extremity 
of famine, he generously connived at the methods 
practised to supply them with provision. Chancing 
one day to meet two peasants who had been detect- 
ed in these practices, as they were led to execution 
they implored his clemency, declaring, in the sight 
of Heaven, they had no other way to procure sub- 
sistence for their wives and children ; he pardoned 
them on the spot, and, giving them all the money 
that was in his purse, " Henry of Bearne is poor," 
said he ; " had he more money to afford, you should 
have it. Go home to your families in peace ; and 
remember your duty to God and your allegiance "to 
your sovereign." Innumerable examples of the 
same kind may be selected from history, both an- 
cient and modern, the study of which we would, 
therefore, strenuously recommend. 

Historical knowledge, indeed, becomes necessary 
oa many other accounts, which in its place we will 

Cc2 



306 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

explain ; but as the formation of the heart is of the 
first consequence, and should precede the cultiva- 
tion of the understanding, such striking instances of 
superior virtue ought to be culled for the perusal of 
the young pupil, who will read them with eagerness, 
and revolve them with pleasure. Thus the young 
mind becomes enamoured of moral beauty, and the 
passions are listed on the side of humanity. Mean- 
while, knowledge of a different species will go hand 
in hand with the advances of morality, and the un- 
derstanding be gradually extended. Virtue and sen- 
timent reciprocally assist each other, and both con- 
duce to the improvement of perception. While the 
scholar's chief attention is employed in learning the 
Latin and Greek languages, and this is generally the 
task of childhood and early youth, it is even then the 
business of the preceptor to give his mind a turn for 
observation, to direct his powers of discernment, to 
point out the distinguishing marks of character, and 
dwell upon the charms of moral and intellectual 
beauty as they may chance to occur in the classics 
that are used for his instruction. In reading Cor- 
nelius Nepos and Plutarch's Lives, even with a view 
to grammatical improvement only, he will insensibly 
imbibe, and learn to compare ideas of great impor- 
tance. He will become enamoured of virtue and 
patriotism, and acquire a detestation for vice, cruel- 
ty, and corruption. The perusal of the Roman story 
in the works of Florus, Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus 
will irresistibly engage his attention, expand his 
conception, cherish his memory, exercise his judg- 
ment, and warm him with a noble spirit of emula- 
tion. He will contemplate with love and admira- 
tion the disinterested candour of Aristides, sur- 
named the Just, whom the guilty cabals of his rival 
Themistocles exiled from his ungrateful country by 
a sentence of ostracism. He will be surprised to 
learn that one of his fellow-citizens, an illiterate ar- 
tisan, bribed by his enemies, chancing to meet him 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 307 

in the street without knowing his person, desired he 
would write Aristides on his shell (which was the 
method those plebeians used to vote against delin- 
quents), when the innocent patriot wrote his own 
name without complaint or expostulation. He will, 
with equal astonishment, applaud the inflexible in- 
tegrity of Fabricius, who preferred the poverty of 
innocence to all the pomp of affluence with which 
Pyrrhus endeavoured to seduce him from the arms 
of his country. He will approve, with transport, the 
noble generosity of his soul in rejecting the propo- 
sal of that prince's physician, who offered to take 
him off by poison ; and in sending the caitiff bound 
to his sovereign, whom he would have so basely and 
cruelly betrayed. 

In reading the ancient authors, even for the pur- 
poses of school education, the unformed taste will 
begin to relish the irresistible energy, greatness, and 
sublimity of Homer; the serene majesty, the melo- 
dy, and pathos of Virgil ; the tenderness of Sappho 
and Tibullus ; the elegance and propriety of Terence ; 
the grace, vivacity, satire, and sentiment of Horace. 

Nothing will more conduce to the improvement 
of the scholar in his knowledge of the languages, as 
well as in taste and morality, than his being obliged 
to translate choice parts and passages of the most 
approved classics, both poetry and prose, especially 
the latter ; such as the orations of Demosthenes 
and Isocrates, the treatise of Longinus on the Sub- 
lime, the Commentaries of Caesar, the Epistles of 
Cicero and the younger Pliny, and the two celebra- 
ted speeches in the Catilinarian conspiracy by Sal- 
lust. By this practice he will become more inti- 
mate with the beauties of the writing and the idioms 
of language from which he translates ; at the same 
time it will form his style ; and, by exercising his 
talent of expression, make him a more perfect mas- 
ter of his mother tongue. Cicero tells us that, in 
translating two orations, which the most celebrated 



308 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

orators of Greece pronounced against each other, 
he performed his task, not as a servile interpreter, 
but as an orator, preserving the sentiments, forms, 
and figures of the original, but adapting the ex- 
pression to the taste and manners of the Romans : 
In quibus non verbum pro verbo necesse habui reddere, 
sed genus omnium verborum vimque servai : " In which 
I did not think it was necessary to translate literally 
word for word, but I preserved the natural and full 
scope of the whole." Of the same opinion was 
Horace, who says, in his Art of Poetry, 

" Nee verbum verbo curabis reddere fibus 
Interpres." 

Nor word for word translate with painful care." 



u 



Nevertheless, in taking the liberty here granted, we 
are apt to run into the other extremes, and substi- 
tute equivalent thoughts and phrases, till hardly any 
features of the original remain. The metaphors of 
figures, especially in poetry, ought to be as reli- 
giously preserved as the images of painting, which 
we cannot alter or exchange without destroying, or 
injuring, at least, the character and style of the ori- 
ginal. 

In this manner the preceptor will sow the seeds 
of that taste which will soon germinate, rise, blos- 
som, and produce perfect fruit by dint of future care 
and cultivation. In order to restrain the luxuriancy 
of the young imagination, which is apt to run riot, 
to enlarge the stock of ideas, exercise the reason, 
and ripen the judgment, the pupil must be engaged 
in the severer study of science. He must learn 'ge- 
ometry, which Plato recommends for strengthening 
the mind, and enabling it to think with precision. 
He must be made acquainted with geography and 
chronology, and trace philosophy through all her 
branches. Without geography and chronology, he 
will not be able to acquire a distinct idea of history, 
^or judge of the propriety of many interesting 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 309 

scenes, and a thousand allusions that present them- 
selves in the works of genius. Nothing opens the 
mind so much as the researches of philosophy ; 
they inspire us with sublime conceptions of the 
Creator, and subject, as it were, all nature to our 
command. These bestow that liberal turn of think- 
ing, and, in a great measure, contribute to that uni- 
versality in learning, by which a man of taste ought 
to be eminently distinguished. But history is the 
inexhaustible source from which he will derive his 
most useful knowledge respecting the progress of 
the human mind, the constitution of government, 
the rise and decline of empires, the revolution of 
arts, the variety of character, and the vicissitudes 
of fortune. 

The knowledge of history enables the poet not 
only to paint characters, but also to describe mag- 
nificent and interesting scenes of battle and adven- 
ture. Not that the poet or the painter ought to be 
restrained to the letter of historical truth. History 
represents what has really happened in nature ; the 
other arts exhibit what might have happened, with 
such exaggerations of circumstance and feature as 
may be deemed an improvement on nature ; but this 
exaggeration must not be carried beyond the bounds 
of probability ; and these, generally speaking, the 
knowledge of history will ascertain. It would be 
extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find a man 
actually existing, whose proportions should answer 
to those of the Greek statue distinguished by the 
name of Apollo of Belvidere ; or to produce a 
woman similar in proportion of parts to the other 
celebrated piece called the Venus de Medicis ; 
therefore it may be truly affirmed that they are not 
conformable to the real standard of nature: nev- 
ertheless, every artist will own that they are the 
very archetypes of grace, elegance, and symmetry ; 
and every judging eye must behold them with admi- 
ration, as improvements on the lines and lineaments 



310 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

of Nature. The truth is, the sculptor or statuary 
composed the various proportions in nature from a 
great number of different subjects, every individual 
of which he found imperfect or defective in some 
one particular, though beautiful in all the rest ; and 
from these observations, corroborated by taste and 
judgment, he formed an ideal pattern, according to 
which his idea was modelled, and produced in exe- 
cution. 

Everybody knows the story of Zeuxis, the famous 
painter of Heraclea, who, according to Pliny, in- 
vented the " chiaro oscuro," or disposition of light 
and shade among the ancients, and excelled all his 
contemporaries in the chromatique, or art of colour- 
ing. This great artist, being employed to draw a 
perfect beauty in the character of Helen, to be placed 
in the temple of Juno, called out five of the most 
beautiful damsels the city could produce, and, se- 
lecting what was excellent in each, combined them 
in one picture, according to the predisposition of his 
fancy, so that it shone forth an amazing model of 
perfection.* In like manner, every man of genius, 
regulated by true taste, entertains in his imagination 
an ideal beauty, conceived and cultivated as an im- 
provement upon nature ; and this we refer to the 
article of invention. 

It is the business of Art to imitate Nature, but not 
with a servile pencil ; and to choose those attributes 
and dispositions only which are beautiful and en- 
gaging. With this view, we must avoid all disagree- 
able prospects of nature which excite the ideas of 
abhorrence and disgust. For example, a painter 

* Prasbete igitur mihi quseso, inquit, ex istis virginibus formo- 
sissimas, dum pingo id, quod pollicitus sum vobis, ut mutual in 
simulacrum ex animali exemplo Veritas transferatur. Ille au- 
tem quinque delegit. Neque enim putavit omnia, quae qusereret 
ad venustatem, uno in corpore se reperire posse ; ideo quod nihil 
simplici in genere omnibus ex partibus perfectum natura ex- 
polivit. — Cic, lib. ii., de Inv., cap. 1. 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 311 

would not find his account in exhibiting the resem- 
blance of a dead carcass half consumed by vermin, 
or of swine wallowing in ordure, or of a beggar 
lousing himself on a dunghill, though these scenes 
should be painted never so naturally, and all the 
world must allow that the scenes were taken from 
nature, because the merit of the imitation would be 
greatly overbalanced by the vile choice of the artist. 
There are, nevertheless, many scenes of horror 
which please in the representation, from a certain 
interesting greatness which we shall endeavour to 
explain when we come to consider the sublime. 

Were we to judge every production by the rigorous 
rules of Nature, we should reject the Iliad of Homer, 
the iEneid of Virgil, and every celebrated tragedy of 
antiquity and the present times, because there is no 
such thing in nature as a Hector or Turnus talking 
in hexameters, or an Othello in blank verse ; we 
should condemn the Hercules of Sophocles and the 
miser of Moliere, because we never knew a hero so 
strong as the one, or a wretch so sordid as the other. 
But if we consider poetry as an elevation of natural 
dialogue ; as a delightful vehicle for conveying the 
noblest sentiments of heroism and patriot virtue ; 
to regale the sense with the sounds of musical ex- 
pression, while the fancy is ravished with enchant- 
ing images, and the heart warmed to rapture and 
ecstasy, we .must allow that poetry is a perfection 
to which Nature would gladly aspire; and that, 
though it surpasses, it does not deviate from her, 
provided the characters are marked with propriety 
and sustained by genius. Characters, therefore, 
both in poetry and painting, may be a little over- 
charged or exaggerated without offering violence to 
nature; nay, they must be exaggerated in order to 
be striking, and to preserve the idea of imitation, 
whence the reader and spectator derive in many in- 
stances their chief delight. If we meet a common 
acquaintance in the street, we see him without emo- 



312 OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 

tion ; but should we chance to spy his portrait well 
executed, we are struck with pleasing admiration. 
In this case the pleasure arises entirely from the 
imitation. We every day hear unmoved the natives 
of Ireland and Scotland speaking their own dialects ; 
but should an Englishman mimic either, we are apt 
to burst out into a loud laugh of applause, being sur- 
prised and tickled by the imitational one ; though, at 
the same time, we cannot but allow that the imita- 
tion is imperfect. We are more affected by reading 
Shakspeare's description of Dover Cliff, and Otway's 
picture of the Old Hag, than we should be were we 
actually placed on the summit of the one, or met in 
reality with such a beldame as the other ; because 
in reading these descriptions we refer to our own 
experience, and perceive with surprise the justness 
of the imitations. But if it is so close as to be mis- 
taken for Nature, the pleasure then will cease, be- 
cause the ixLfirjGLi; or imitation no longer appears. 

Aristotle says that all poetry and music is imita- 
tion,* whether epic, tragic, or comic, whether vocal 
or instrumental, from the pipe or the lyre. He ob- 
serves, that in man there is a propensity to imitate 
even from his infancy ; that the first perceptions of 
the mind are acquired by imitation ; and seems to 
think that the pleasure derived from imitation is the 
gratification of an appetite implanted by Nature. 
We should rather think the pleasure it gives arises 
from the mind's contemplating that excellency of 
Art which thus rivals Nature, and seems to vie with 
her in creating such a striking resemblance of her 
works. Thus the arts may be justly termed imita- 
tive, even in the article of invention : for, in forming 
. a character, contriving an incident, and describing a 
scene, he must still keep nature in view, and refer 

* 'E7ro7TO££a 6rj kcu tj rijg Tpayudiat; Troi^ais, etc Se KcofiuSta 
teal 37 6i6vpa/x6oTTOt,T}Tt.it7}, mi 7% g,v%!,tlktjc 7 -kIelo-h} nal ki- 
dapiOTiKTjg Ttaaat croyxavovaiv ovaai fiifivt ek to cvv6Xov, 



OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 313 

every particular of his invention to her standard ; 
otherwise his production will be destitute of truth 
and probability, without which the beauties of imita- 
tion cannot subsist. It will be a monster of incon- 
gruity, such as Horace alludes to in the beginning 
of his epistle to the Pisos : 

' Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam 
Jungere si velit, et varias inducere plumas 
Undique collatis membris, ut turpiter atrum 
Desinat in piscem, mulier formosa superne ; 
Spectatum admissi risum teneatis, amici ?" 

■ Suppose a painter, to a human head 
Should join a horse's neck, and wildly spread 
The various plumage of the feather'd kind 
O'er limbs of different beasts, absurdly join'd ; 
Or, if he gave to view a beauteous maid, 
Above the waist with every charm array'd ; 
Should a foul fish her lower parts unfold, 
Would you not laugh such pictures to behold ?" 

The magazine of nature supplies all those images 
which compose the most beautiful imitations. This 
the artist examines occasionally as he would con- 
sult a collection of masterly sketches ; and, selecting 
particulars for his purpose, mingles the ideas with a 
kind of enthusiasm, or to &eiov, which is that gift of 
Heaven we call genius, and finally produces such a 
whole as commands admiration and applause. 

Vol. II.— D d 



THE END. 



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